'Cocktail' movie review: A dreadful brew that stinks of bad humour

It’s a compliment to films like Cocktail when they get reviewed, when we offer evidence that we have indeed subjected ourselves to their torment.

Published: 11th July 2020 11:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th July 2020 11:26 AM   |  A+A-

Still from 'Cocktail'

Still from 'Cocktail'

Express News Service

It’s a compliment to films like Cocktail when they get reviewed, when we offer evidence that we have indeed subjected ourselves to their torment. There isn’t much to be said about my experience of catching this latest Tamil OTT release, except to dryly note that all my years of living have somehow conspired to force me into the lair of this film that stinks of relentless tedium. The title, Cocktail, is a reference to that one scene in which Yogi Babu and friends pour many types of alcohol into a large vessel. It’s a fitting title, I suppose, because the film is as tasty as their dreadful cocktail.

Much like this cocktail made by Yogi Babu and friends is a mixture of drinks that have no business coming together, the story of this film is an unsettling union of bizarre ideas, including a replica of a smuggled idol, a dead woman who may or may not be drunk, and a cop (Sayaji Shinde) whose boss yells, “En thaaliya arakaadha”, in a bid to pressurise him to solve a case. The film begins with the smuggled idol angle, but then forgets about it, until very late, when having run out of ideas to assault you further with nonsensical conversation, it brings it back.

There’s simply no respite from the constant chatter between the men in this film, who you wish, pray, beg, would shut up for at least a minute to let you recover. It’s the sort of film in which the moment a character says the word, ‘ummunu’, you know he’s going to rhyme it with ‘gummunu’. It’s also the sort of film that constantly has you wondering how so many parties were convinced to participate in its making. I imagine Yogi Babu’s popularity had a part to play. In this film, he seems to be going through the motions, making unthinking attempts at humour that cause you a lot of agony.

He and his friends reel off insult after insult, taking inspiration it seems from the Goundamani dictionary (Karapaanpoochi moonji, naarthanga mandai, you get the idea). Everyone gets insulted in this film, but those handpicked for particular insulting are the sort of people who are likely humiliated enough already. A couple of bald men, a man with an effeminate voice… and the whole gamut of women. It’s a film that has almost no respect for women, its gaze reducing them to objects of sexual consumption. A husband, under the pretext of casting them in films, looks to take advantage of young women, but this film tries to convince you that it’s his wife, who is evil, because she gives him a hard time.

As for those women in this film who are too old to be ‘had’, like the old women at the beginning of this film, they are encouraged to die, and their old age and resultant characteristics the target of much abuse. But this isn’t a film that try as it might, comes across as being offensive. That’s because it has bigger problems, like its sorry lack of imagination and repetitive bad humour, that assault you on a more primal level. The singular advantage of watching such a film on an OTT platform (Zee5) is that you can constantly keep yourself aware of how much longer you will have to endure the pain. The regular checking of the film’s duration serves as encouragement that the trauma will end eventually, even if it doesn’t feel so. It’s been a hard time, what with the lockdown and all, and at times, it has felt like things just cannot get worse. This film’s achievement is that it proved this notion wrong.

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