A subject with contemporary relevance

MALAYALAM: By now, movie-goers are all too familiar with the terms that circulate through rigorous public relation campaigns whenever a film is released, and many of the compound adjectives like ‘path-breaking’ or ‘taboo-busting’ have already become cliches.
Beyond the familiar advertising slogans and catchy one-liners, most of the films fail to deliver.

On the contrary, the film Cocktail, an adaptation of the Mike Barker film, ‘Butterfly on a Wheel,’ is a poignant exploration of the whimsicalities of the human mind. A subject with contemporary relevance, it wonderfully rises above the limitations one usually associates with a director’s debut film, often justifiably.

What is remarkable is that the director (also an experienced editor) Arun Kumar has used an intricate plot to avoid oft-repeated formulae. Ravi Abraham, a successful player in the corporate world, his wife Parvathy and their daughter are leading a perfect life. But, one day their life is turned upside down by an abductor, at the cost of their daughter. They have no choice but to comply with the abductor’s demands. The kidnapper, Venkitesh, a cold lunatic, takes over their lives with the brutal efficiency of someone who has nothing to lose.

Jayasurya, who comes up with commendably unique appearances in each of his films, has put up a memorable and interesting performance in the role of Venkitesh. The character he plays has a negative flavour that perfectly suits his new looks.

Anoop Menon, who fits well into the shoes of Ravi Abraham, is notable not just for his performance in the movie but for crafting the screenplay and dialogues for the film. A versatile actor who hardly got any chance to prove his acting skills after the excellent performance in Ranjith’s Thirakkatha that had won much accolades, Anoop had to wait over a year and a half before another promising role came by. Samvritha Sunil as Parvathy, remains constrained in a role in the film that offers no fresh challenges, though the role is in no way insignificant.

The narrative appears a bit jumbled in the first half which leaves the audience confused. But, it converges and gets more linear in the second half, which brings much clarity to the plot. And, the climax inspires the audience to empathise with the characters and their situations.

The music by Alphonse Joseph, who is now back in action after his world tour with A R Rahman, is worth listening to.

The movie, with a gripping theme, leaves one contemplative. Cocktail is a ‘mock’ tale of all those who do a volte-face when it comes to the question of morality, but it does not serve you a mocktail when you spend two hours in the theatre.

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