Was ‘Cocktail’ Really As Progressive A Movie As We Made It To Be?

Posted by maya agnihotri in Culture-Vulture, Sexism And Patriarchy
February 22, 2018

When I watched this movie for the first time at 14, I didn’t think much about it. But a part of me thought it was weird that Veronica (Deepika Padukone) didn’t end up with Gautam (Saif Ali Khan). I already knew what was up back in the day, without explicitly knowing, if you get what I mean.

The injustice portrayed in this movie accurately represents many people’s mentality in South Asia. The sexism and misogyny glorified in this supposedly ‘modern’ film irked me for many reasons. Why is it that when a guy goes around, he can get as many people to fall in love with him, but if a girl acts the same way, she deserves to have her heart broken?

This double standard is a modern-day effect of the patriarchy that has been prevalent in our society for eons. Here’s an underrepresented (but dangerously common) type of fuckboy: He slut-shames empowered women, leads on his ‘side chicks’, and screws around till he meets a ‘good’ woman. This is Gautam, who’s apparently supposed to be the protagonist of the film.

Who exactly is a ‘good’ girl, you ask? Is she a nonjudgmental, compassionate, supportive, loyal, and loving woman who also helps you grow as a person? Nope. Instead, this kind of a desi fuckboy prefers a docile person who dresses up in ‘conservative’ clothing, and who never thinks for herself.

So does a girl now have to change the core of who she is and turn into a sanskaari goody two shoes so she wouldn’t have to suffer the taxing effects of heartbreak? Just because Veronica understands her sexual needs, parties a lot, wears a certain kind of clothing, denounces religious norms, and flirts around, doesn’t mean that she’s merely an object to be ‘smashed and passed’. Would a real guy judge a girl by her ‘sluttiness’? (I’m also talking to you, SRK in various movies.) This movie might have blessed us with a majestic soundtrack, but the message it ultimately sends is one that has no place in this world.

However, I am glad about the fact that Veronica is given a chance to do much, much, better than a person like Gautam. I’m also happy that she continues to be her badass self. After all, who said a woman’s only purpose in life is to gain validation from a man?