Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cocktail, Friendships & Some Campus Memories


Friendships and its complexities are given a test and trial description in Cocktail starring Deepika Padukone, Saif Ali Khan and the lovely Turkish girl, Diana. Place them all under one roof and you know the chemistry is totally sizzling even though the script is old wine in new bottle.


Who's the Good or Bad Girl?
The portrayal of Deepika Padukone’s character Veronica is a good one as there are many young women like her. Deepika seems to do it naturally and almost effortlessly. She portrays well the pent up frustrations of a young, neglected girl who decides that sex and booze is the way forward to get rid of her lonely, vulnerable self. She destroys herself little by little and doesn’t realize how badly she’s wasted her beautiful life on the wrong things. However, though she goes around walking like a million bucks, there are times when she sounds foul and seems to display psychotic behaviour that is inconsistent with the ‘I am good girl within’ character she is trying to persuade us with.


It reminded me of a girl in campus who was almost the same. She had the same vulnerability that she tried to disguise by acting like a tough cookie. Being close to her could not have been easy because she would do everything to turn you off her track. She didn’t allow anyone to get close to her beyond a point but the truth was she was as soft as butter and good as gold within. It just took the wrong folks to find that out though. People want the moral packaging to come in demure, covered up clothes all the time. The social hypocrisy is sick and of course it still stays on in our psyche. 

In this film, we can see that Veronica is a wild child pretending to be a grown up. She enjoys partying. She is hot, sexy and knows exactly how to shock the pants off men by having several of them and not bothering to talk smooth like ladies do. When she tells “Can I pee in the car?” she definitely gets my pity. It’s a spoilt, attention seeking kid who’s talking. When she meets the smooth talking Gautam, a guy whom she knows is the ‘real’ one for her. Except that he sleeps with her but falls in love with Meera, her demure best friend instead. 



Now Meera dazzles as the orphan like Indian girl who is innocent, cheated into coming to London through a marriage alliance that had meant nothing at all to the guy who had married her.  Veronica takes her in and these two become best friends. Trouble begins when Gautam’s mother (starring Dimple Kapadia) makes an appearance. To ‘please’ his mother, Gautam introduces Meera as the girl he is with and wants to marry. Dimple begins to lavish all her love and attention on Meera as a ‘perfect bride’ for her son and she keeps a disapproving eye on the scantily clad Veronica.

Some Campus Memories 
Back to some campus memories where love, live in relationships and much more happened on the sly, outside the reality of life. I won’t mention names because it wouldn’t be right to do so. These campus friends have moved on in their life and relationships.  

I remember a hot couple in college. Cute guy. A nice looking girl. They were seeing each other for several years. Guess what? The last year of college is when the guy tells her that his mom’s having a terminal illness and that they can’t go forward with this relationship because he promised his mom to marry the one she chooses. It turns out that I heard this story from the campus grapevine. By chance, I met this guy’s terminally ill mom and asked her in general about health and it turns out she was never ill at all. What happened to the special couple? The heartbroken girl mended her heart, moved on and so did the guy. What I didn’t understand is why couldn’t he have told her the truth? If he had cared for her, he should have told her why it was over. Not because of his mom but because he didn’t have the guts to mention this girl to his family in the first place!

Later this guy dates a friend out of college but whom I had known in person. At some point, he tells her he couldn’t have told this old girlfriend the truth because she is a good girl. I’ve not understood what the campus definition of a good girl is yet. I think it’s a jaded perception.

This guy didn’t want to lose her respect. This friend broke up with him in a bad way and they turned into bitter enemies. They exchanged insults about each other’s history and well, other things too that can’t be mentioned here. Guess what he did? He charmed her best friend and took her out for a date right after! Now, if you look at this guy and perhaps many other guys and girls, the role of Gautam in Cocktail will seem pretty decent, if you know what I mean.

It's not just the Guys who Talk 
But there’s one more thing that guys need to know. It’s not just the guys who talk and boast about past relationships. Not anymore.

In Delhi, from the relationships that I have seen personally, today's girls are increasingly confident and doing the same as guys once did when it came to discussing 'history'. They are talking about the men in their lives openly amongst each other. Many girls talk about their past relationships without omitting even the most embarrassing details. Some years ago, on my first day in an office, a girl came to make friends with me. She is a nice, friendly and cheerful girl. One of the first things she mentioned was that she has had five live in relationships. She also mentioned that whoever she marries, she will tell them about it before taking the plunge. I don’t know if she did what she said she would do but what I am saying is that many of today’s girls have no hang ups about talking things over about the men in their life.

Another friend from Delhi tells me about how she got married to her first boyfriend who proposed to her in a romantic way after her second boyfriend had a tiff with her. In her case, she had been seeing her second boyfriend for five years at a stretch but one tiff was all it took for her to realize he is just not the guy she wants to be with anymore. She called it off.

Yet another friend became close friends with a guy and told him everything about the guy she was deeply in love with but they had split up for various reasons. This friend supported her emotionally through this traumatic phase. And after a few months, he told her he loves her and wants to marry her. He told her it was understandable that she would need time to get over the past but he wanted her to know he loves her deeply and wants her to be his wife. More and more girls are talking openly about their relationships and yes, some do flaunt it if they feel like it.    

Back to the film.  The plot turns strange as Gautam spends more time and Meera and tells her that though she is all ‘covered’ in layers of clothes, she is the kind of woman whom men find ‘hot’ and want to discover in their quest for love. To me, that is the most honest statement in this entire film. It pretty well sums up the overall mentality of Indian men when it coems to women they want to marry and settle down with.

There are interesting sparks of conversations in this movie Cocktail that seems more like a romantic misadventure.

But you know what; it’s worth a try because relationships are increasingly getting messed up. More and more Gautams will continue to explore and exploit their opportunities with the Veronicas and Meeras of this world. Reality is this: As long as it isn’t you in this tangle, you are safe, fine and you can enjoy it as easily as a cocktail.

C’est la vie.  

3 comments:

Hari K T said...

Recently I was at Lalbagh Bangalore . There were lots of couples in the park who don't care its a public place and making love scenes.
What I can say is its not love they are making. They are trying to become friendly to do sex , probably that may be the right sentence I guess.
If a person really loves, he knows he is able to do it after marriage, so there is nothing to hurry up. Girls know the after effects than boys, and they are ok with it to make a party life ? Who knows what is running inside them.
The one thing that really effects is if they get married to a Person. They will start comparing Husband with their old chaps and probably get into another relation or the same relation without caring her family.
Again what India is going is towards a western style of living which may not be a good option for a family life like 20 to 30 years or more :).
I also feel once you are married, you only love that person deeply when you are about to die :) .

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Interesting perspective you've shared. Times are changing, priorities are changing and even the way films treat concepts are drastically changing.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Hi Swapna,

I have not seen the movie but it looks like it is about the hypocrisy of the Indian male that is glorified as the "good girl"traits. Indian men do not mind sleeping with or doing whatever with girls like Veronica but when it comes to taking someone home to meet their mom then I guess it is the Meera Variety they prefer. Men cannot handle bold women because they have been brought up to deal with demure women who keep their sexuality under rein or covers- blatant flaunting of their sexuality scares them off. Anyway, I think there is also the attention seeking thing that kids like Veronica have-like you I have seen many in college and I see them now in the virtual world behaving similarly on facebook and other social networking sites! And I guess Indian men will always be cowards - they will use their mothers to hide behind when faced with a tight situation ( like breaking off a relationship)

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