Today, Diana Penty is the girl every man wants to take home to their mothers. And Dinesh Vijan, the producer of Cocktail, the film in which the supermodel will make her Bollywood debut, couldn’t be happier. “I gave the script to Deepika (Padukone) and asked her to choose between the two roles. Having already played Meera in Love Aaj Kal (2009) she opted for the
challenge of playing the hot and wild Veronica. And with Deepika and Saif (Ali Khan) in, we decided this Cocktail needed a fresh ingredient,” Dinesh says.
Casting directors were asked to scout for fresh faces, but before they could audition anyone, Diana walked in for a meeting. “I was in a rush to leave town, she was in a hurry to go for a photo-session, but at a glance, we felt that despite the perfect smile and polished looks, Diana was the shy, girl-next-door Meera. She has that classic Indian look. After two auditions, both Homi (director Homi Adajania) and I agreed that she was right for the role, even though we had to de-glam her, make her less perfect and more awkward,” Dinesh admits.
Though Cocktial looks like an Indianised Veronica-Archie-Betty story, Dinesh denies any resemblance. “Apart from the name Veronica, there’s little in common,” he says.
Interestingly, old friends Dinesh and Saif have been business partners for seven years. He admits that he couldn’t think of anyone but Saif for the role of the witty and outspoken Gautam. However, when he took the story from Imtiaz Ali and started developing it, Saif wasn’t a part of the project. “Then Saif read the script and decided he wanted in,” says Dinesh. “His humour in the first half and maturity post-interval gives Cocktail a heady twist. If you loved his sardar avatar in Love Aaj Kal, you’ll love this Dilli flirt too.”