As Homi Adajania serves his much anticipated “Cocktail” this week, he shares the ingredients with us
The portrayal of love story changes in Bollywood every 10 years. This week promises to be a new turn with “Cocktail”. “Ten years back I was teaching scuba diving at some beach and 20 years back I was not old enough to have an opinion,” quips director Homi Adajania, who is returning to box office six years after he made the grey matter churn with “Being Cyrus”. It is this freshness in addressing a subject that is reflecting in the promos.
One reminds him 20 years back the conflict was ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte (“Maine Pyaar Kiya”). Today we have “Tum Hi Ho Bandhu Sakha Tumhi” blaring from every possible outlet. The song is in reference to a boy and girl who apparently share a flat with another girl. “It’s good that we have come a long way from those regressive times. It is a very today’s story. Any youngster who will watch it will be able to identify with one of the three protagonists.” In the metros, right? “I believe there is not much difference in the aspirations now but yes the way it is pitched it is for a certain set of audience.” The hits on the Net suggest that “Cocktail” is showing its potency.
Homi says he was not too keen to direct a story of three friends who get hit by love bug after a point but producer Dinesh Vijan, who co-produced “Being Cyrus”, made him pick the project. Out of friendship? “I am a beach bum and need some pushing and prodding. After “Being Cyrus” I was again looking for a story with a psychotic element but Dinesh felt I should try to visualise a modern day love story from my perspective.”
The story has come from Imtiaz Ali who seems to be poles apart from whatever we have seen of Homi. “He is, but Imtiaz wanted me to take his story and make the scenes, the journey my own. He said the moment you take it I will let it go. And you know most love stories are less about beginning or end and more about the journey, the moments. It is in these moments that you will see my touch, my fondness for little quirks and details,” says Homi who developed the screenplay with Imtiaz’s brother Sajid Ali.
The new triangle
Set in London, it is about Meera and Veronica (played by newcomer Diana Penty and Deepika Padukone); two girls who come from different backgrounds and have different ways to approach life. Meera is a little diffident and conservative while Veronica is a wild child who seeks attention all the time. When Gautam (Saif Ali Khan returns to his confused lover boy image!) enters their life, the ball starts rolling. In such films the first half is a breeze while in the second half, when the director starts defining normal and abnormal to reach out to a bigger pool of audience, the film loses its voice. Here since Veronica comes from a fractured family, she has to dress in a certain way and by the second half she will start conforming. Homi defends, “She has grown up in London. Her dressing has to do with her attention seeking habit which has come because of her family atmosphere. I believe the characters are well defined. They speak a language that youngsters will identify with and the conflict and resolution is in sync with the characterisation. Of course first half is fun and the second half deals with a situation when love comes into the equation but there are no sudden shifts.”
Styled by his wife, Anaita Shroff Adajania, Homi says you can’t argue with your wife but thankfully she has gone by what I had envisioned for the characters. “When Meera breaks free, her choice of colours still remains a bit muted in contrast to Veronica, who is on the flashy side.” Homi is full of praise for Deepika. “I offered her to pick from Meera and Veronica and she picked the latter which is against her popular image. She has gone the extra mile to make it credible. I am sure her effort will be noticed.”
Is he finally back from the beach and the quirks like taking a fakir to Venice Biennale? “You never know. Let’s see how ‘Cocktail’ performs.”
Deepika on Veronica
"I have reached a stage in my career where I should start playing stronger characters. Playing Veronica was a kind of self discovery for me. She is not apologetic about what she is. It required a certain kind of confidence. I didn’t know I have that body language to carry it off but when I did, I surprised myself in a strange way…I was not sure whether to pick Meera or Veronica. It was Imtiaz who prodded me to play Veronica as Meera has shades of the Meera I played in Love Aaj Kal…I don’t know if Saif is good at playing a confused lover boy but he is the most adorable lover boy for me. Nobody can beat him in this territory."