Throwback Thursday: Cocktail Was Funny But It Promoted So Many Sexist Stereotypes, We Got Sick Of Counting
I know what you are thinking. But Cocktail was so funny. Yes, yes it was. So was Dabangg according to some people. Some people also think Kartik Aaryan begging for sex and trying to get the audiences to laugh at his marital rape joke is hilarious. See, that’s the thing, a movie can be funny – like a person- but in its entirety reek of misogyny and the deep-rooted hatred for women. And Cocktail was a movie like that.
This is a movie that stood for everything that is wrong with the world right now. Right off the bat, we’re introduced to the characters of Saif and Diana Penty, known as Gautam and Meera respectively. Gautam is a bit of a buffoon, monkeying around and in general being a playboy. He’s not sleazy, he’s a lot of fun. He sleeps only with women willing to sleep with him, which he gets them to do by making jokes and playing pranks. It’s funny a lot of times. Except when it’s not. Like when he flirts with shamelessly with a woman in the boardroom and asks her out. He undermines her work, professionalism and she’s reduced to a mere conquest when she smiles coyly in front of all her male colleagues. This scene was exceptionally stupid.
But then again, if you watch this movie, you realise a lot of it is this way. Meera is a demure girl with strong Indian values. How do we know that? This is shown to us in her clothing. She wears only salwar kameezes, keeping her cleavage and legs covered. Veronica, Deepika’s character, is forward and characterless. How do we know this, you ask? She’s wearing short skirts, revealing tops and all that and obviously, girls like that are forward and slutty.
Meera travels from India to London to live with her husband. It’s on the plane that she bumps into Gautam. In London, Meera’s husband wants nothing to do with her, he’s married her only for the money, he says eloquently as all assholes do. Meera is in the bathroom of a department store where she meets Veronica who takes Meera under her wings. Does Veronica run an NGO? Nope. So she randomly picks up people off the street to live with her in her house? Apparently.
The two become friends and demure and the diva head to a nightclub where they meet Gautam. Meera, again and Veronica for the first time and Veronica and Gautam sleep with each other. Gautam then practically moves in with Veronica and Meera for no good reason. To put it crudely, Gautam and Veronica fuck each other, with no relationship in sight. Till now it all seems very forward.
Then, shit goes misogynistic. Gautam’s judgemental mom joins the fray and does not like Veronica for Gautam. Because she’s not your bharatiya naari. To avoid her wrath, Gautam claims Meera is his girlfriend. So they act like they are together. Gautam and Meera. Not Gautam and his mother.
Promptly, while acting, the two fall in love. Meanwhile, easily trusting Veronica also falls in love with Gautam. However, Gautam has fallen for the sati savitri Meera and there is no going back from that. Veronica cries and says she will do everything to please Gautam – which involves turning a new leaf. She wears demure clothes, prays and turns into the ‘ideal Indian girl’ if you will. Because that’s the kind you can take home to mom. However, the till now a completely cheeky Gautam is not having any of it. He’s become a brood even while Veronica is making an effort for him. Blegh.
So Veronica says ‘fuck it’ in her mind, not in the movie because that’s too forward even for her character and women don’t abuse and gets Meera and Gautam together.
There are so many problems with this movie. First, the blatant and very obvious misogyny where you are told that a guy will only love you if you’re sanskaari enough. In the process, they also slut shame Veronica for having multiple partners, while Gautam who does the same thing still gets the woman he wants. Secondly, Veronica is a broken woman. And while they explain Gautam’s character away with him just being a manchild, no such redemption is offered for Veronica except that her parents ignored her. So her rebellion is explained away by showing her as easy. Fully adjusted women can have multiple partners too, just saying.
Overall, this was a cocktail I could see myself drinking but also throwing up once the sexism kicks in.