Movie - Cocktail (Malayalam)
Director - Arun Kumar
Producer - Milan Jaleel
Cast - Jayasurya, Anoop Menon, Samvritha Sunil, Fahadh Fazil, Innocent, Aparna Nair.
Music - Alphonse, Ratheesh Vega
Background Score - Ratheesh Vega
Cinematography - Pradeep Nair
Story, Screenplay - Shyam Menon
Dialogues - Anoop Menon
Editing - Arun Kumar
Art - Prashanth Madhav
Costumes - Velayudhan Keezhillam
Release Date - 22nd October 2010
Cocktail was announced as Jayasurya's and Anoop Menon's foray into film production and Priyadarshan's trusted editor Arun Kumar's foray into direction. But then, the credit list of the movie says that Milan Jaleel is its producer. Whoever the producer may be, the team has come up with a more than decent movie which is probably the best bet among the movies released after Ramzan. Arun Kumar, following his guru's footsteps, has taken a Hollywood movie as an inspiration for his first directorial venture. Cocktail is a faithful rip-off of Butterfly on a Wheel (Pierce Brosnan, Gerard Butler - 2007). [I havent seen the original. Have just heard bits and pieces of the story]. The movie is adapted well into Malayalam, but what it lacks is the energy and raciness required for a movie of this genre. Nevertheless, it is quite an effective movie which would go down well with a niche audience.
Ravi (Anoop Menon) and Parvathi (Samvritha Sunil) are happily married and are leading a wonderful life with their 6 year old daughter Ammu. Ravi is rapidly climbing up the stairs of success in both real estate and construction business, thanks to him being in the good books of his young boss Naveen (Fahadh Fazil). And one day, Ravi and Parvathy leave their daughter at home under the care of a new babysitter Beatrice and leave - Ravi for an official meeting and Parvathy for a kitty party. On the way, they offer a lift to a stranger (Jayasurya) and within minutes, their lives go topsy-turvy. Cocktail tells the story of how this stranger plays with the lives of the couple.
Cocktail has a pretty compelling storyline. It does not deviate from the main plot except during a totally unwanted item song. But still, the movie is not racy enough for a thriller like this. It could have been much much better if it had some more energy in it. Having said that, it tackles a theme which is very relevant in city life today (which if mentioned here would spoil the suspense) and portrays it effectively as well. Shyam Menon has adapted the storyline from the Hollywood original into Malayalam impressively. The movie's best part is its climax after a not-so-good pre-climax portion. The dialogues by Anoop Menon are brilliant. It is very tough to write natural dialogues in Malayalam (with a liberal dose of English) and Anoop Menon is a master at it. The dialogues are one of the best aspects in the movie. The F word is used rather liberally and thankfully it sounds authentic since most characters in the movie speak good English.
It is refreshing to see the life of a rich upper class family in Malayalam Cinema, which normally keeps telling stories of poverty, the mandatory japthi and all that. Cocktail tells the story of the elite families in the state (especially in Kochi) and how their lives are. People speaking great English without an accent, a wife who goes for kitty parties, a corporate office environment, and many such things associated with the elite are portrayed in this movie, which is a first in Malayalam Cinema. And will go down very well with the upper middle class and elite crowd in the audience.
Samvritha Sunil comes up with the best performance in the movie, which is also her career best. She looks gorgeous, acts brilliantly and wears some lovely costumes. Most importantly, she's very comfortable playing mother to a six year old. Jayasurya also gives a deadly performance in the movie. His role, with grey shades is sure to receive applause from the audience. He proves again that he's probably the best among the present young crop of actors. He does not have any airs about that and still plays all the different characters he gets, be it a hero or a villain or a comedian or a supporting actor, and shines in all of them. Anoop Menon is inconsistent. He's brilliant at portions and very ordinary in some others. He reminds one of Mohanlal, Mammootty and Suresh Gopi all at the same time and there's a heavy Mohanlal hangover in many of the emotional scenes. (He put that to good use in Thirakkatha and Pakal Nakshatrangal earlier). Otherwise, his performance is good. The credibility of the movie lies upon the performances of its 3 main leads and they pull it off quite well. Fahadh Fazil is highly impressive in a cameo. Innocent is not convincing as a Palakkad Iyer. Aparna Nair is okay. Kani Kusruti is good. The junior artiste who played a very important character Beatrice, was unintentionally funny. And thankfully they did away with Suraaj Venjarammoodu who was also supposed to be a part of the movie.
Director Arun Kumar is heavily influenced by his mentor Priyadarshan, in a positive way. Almost every frame in the movie is beautiful and the movie has some great visuals. And the beautifully shot 'Neeyam Thanalinu' stands testimony to the director's eye for great visuals. He could have made the movie racier, especially since he is the editor of the movie as well. The desperate situation of the couple doesnt come across that effectively in some key scenes. Otherwise, his handling of the subject is very good and the effective climax more than makes up for the not-so great portions before that. And as we have forgiven his guru for lifting plots from other movies, we should forgive him too, since he has done a good job at that.
Music of the film is very good. 'Neeyam Thanalinu' is one of the best songs in recent Malayalam film music. Ratheesh Vega is a great find, and he excels in that song as well as the background score. Alphonse's 'Vennilavumivide' is a brilliant situational song, which also plays out during the end credits. The item was song was bad and totally uncalled for. Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran's erstwhile assistant Pradeep Nair is brilliant. The film looks great, thanks to him. Art direction by Prashant Madhav is very good. And the costumes by Velayudhan Keezhillam are amazing. Its such a relief to see actors wearing such nice clothes on screen other than the loud and colourful costumes we are used to in Malayalam films.
Cocktail is a drastically different film from the same kind of movies offered to us friday after friday at the movie halls. A very good attempt by the whole team, it should be appreciated and promoted well to get the success it deserves. It could have been much much better, but still it impresses in its present form. A strong social message about families and values are also given out through the film. Watch it, you wouldnt be disappointed.
Rating - 3.5/5
P.S. - I liked the fact that Jayasurya has christened his fans association as Jayasurya Friends association. Makes him more closer to them. Good move. :)