5 years of Cocktail: When Homi Adajania told Deepika to ‘forget her pretty face’
As the 2012 film Cocktail, starring Deepika Padukone, Saif Ali Khan and Diana Penty, completes five years today, filmmaker Homi Adajania goes down memory lane to share anecdotes from the film’s sets.bollywood Updated: Jul 13, 2017 12:01 IST
After debuting as a director with Being Cyrus in 2006, filmmaker Homi Adajania was just a film old when he decided to make Cocktail in 2012. The film completes five years today, and Homi admits that he found the story line “pretty regressive” at that time.
“But when the realisation dawned on me that I was unfamiliar on how to do it (the usage of songs in a visual narrative), I decided to go for it. Within the framework of the original story, I decided to make every scene completely my own,” says Homi.
Starring actors Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone in the lead, the film marked Diana Penty’s debut in Bollywood. Ask Homi if it was the script or the casting that took him so long to come up with the film, he says, “I’m in transit and not running some race. I made Being Cyrus out of curiosity on the medium and wasn’t looking at filmmaking as a career at that time.”
The filmmaker adds that when he finally started working on the film, he knew that Deepika’s performance would, for sure, be applauded. Homi, in fact, wrote a letter telling Deepika this on the last day of the shoot.
“Deepika came with a bunch of not-so-successful films behind her. So she was hungry to break the mould. At our first meeting, I told her, ‘Let’s forget your pretty face…I want people to leave the theatre knowing that Deepika Padukone is a reliable actor,’” says Homi, admitting that he was partial to Deepika because “making her Veronica — a free-spirited party girl — was my biggest challenge. She was my favourite character of the film.”
As for Diana, who played the role of a shy and simple traditional girl, Meera, Homi shares that the makers confirmed her only after the second round of audition. “We made a choice and once we did that, an established actor [I can’t say who] piped up and said that she wanted to play the role. But once Dinesh (Vijan, producer) and I had made a commitment, it wasn’t right to go back on the decision. I think, honestly, it worked out for the best.”
Asked if Diana was too raw to take instructions or was he pleasantly surprised to work with her, Homi adds, “We shared a similar sensibility [of being newcomers], so it wasn’t difficult to direct her.”
Fun-trivia while shooting for Cocktail:
1. After hearing the narration, I told the producers to call it Cliché-Central and they refused.
2. I shot for two days in Cape Town wearing a woman’s sunglasses to hide a black-eye that happened after I walked into a random fist fight the night before.
3. Deepika partied all night and at sunrise drove straight for a Great White Shark dive.
4. There’s a video floating around, where I am doing Diana’s dance in the song Tumi Ho Bandu, dress et al.
5. Imran Khan was initially roped in for Saif’s role, but said that he wasn’t sure he wanted to do the film and Saif thankfully jumped on board.
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