Meera (Diana Penty) is a shy and simple traditional girl who leaves her family in India, to live in London with her husband Kunal (Randeep Hooda). While at the London airport, she meets Gautam "Gutlu" Kapoor (Saif Ali Khan), a shameless flirt and playboy who hits on her and asks her out. Meera politely tells him that she is married and then leaves. Meera searches for her husband and finally finds him, but he is angry to see her and explains that he only married Meera for her money, telling her to stay away from him. This leaves Meera heartbroken and stranded in London with no place to stay.
While in the bathroom at a department store, Meera meets free spirited party girl Veronica (Deepika Padukone) who sees Meera weeping and decides to help her. Veronica takes Meera to her apartment and explains that her estranged father sends her a large amount of money through cheque every month, which helps Veronica enjoy the life of a rich socialite. One night, Veronica takes Meera to a nightclub, where they run into Gautam. At the club, Gautam and Veronica dance intimately and make out. The next morning, after a job interview, Meera comes home to find Gautam on the couch. She learns that Gautam and Veronica slept together the previous night. Soon, Gautam moves in with Veronica and Meera, continuing his "no strings attached" relationship with Veronica. Although Meera initially dislikes him, she comes to accept him, and the three become good friends.
Eventually, Gautam's mother Kavita (Dimple Kapadia) and his uncle Randhir (Boman Irani) arrive, looking for him. Kavita is shocked to see Gautam's drunken escapades with the two girls, and wants to know if he has found anyone to settle down with yet. Kavita does not particularly like Veronica due to her lifestyle, while Randhir develops a soft spot for her. Gautam lies to his mother and says that he is in a relationship with Meera because she is the "Ideal Indian girl", who would meet his mother's approval. During this charade, Gautam and Meera become closer and end up falling in love. However, Meera is hesitant to admit it, because she does not want to hurt Veronica, her best friend. Veronica has fallen in love with Gautam and is trying to win the approval of his mother by becoming a "decent" Indian girl.
Unable to continue with the lie, Gautam sits the two women down and explains to Veronica that even though she loves him, he is in love with Meera. Meera apologises to Veronica, but Veronica assures her that it is okay and insists that they all go to the club to celebrate. However, at the club, a drunken Veronica breaks down, telling Gautam that she will do whatever he wants, and she tells Meera that no one has ever used her the way she did. The next morning, the three part ways. Meera decides to go back to her husband, while Veronica becomes depressed and engages in increasingly dangerous and destructive behaviour. One night, Veronica is badly injured after being hit by a car. Gautam rushes her to hospital. Meera comes there with Kunal to make it look like she has gotten over Gautam.
Gautam moves back in with Veronica to care for her. Veronica thinks that they are rebuilding their relationship, but soon realises that Gautam is no longer the flirtatious, fun-loving man with whom she fell in love, and that he is that man only when he is with Meera. She sacrifices her love for Gautam after realising she is not perfect for him, and she helps him locate Meera. They seek out Kunal, who tells them that Meera left him because she loved Gautam too much and that she has gone back to India. Gautam and Veronica travel to Delhi. Gautam proposes to Meera, and she accepts. Veronica and Meera become best friends again and the three friends reunite.Saif Ali Khan as Gautam Kapoor
Deepika Padukone as Veronica Malaney
Diana Penty as Meera Sahni/Meera Kunal Ahuja
Dimple Kapadia as Kavita Kapoor, Gautam's Mother
Boman Irani as Randhir "Randy" Malhotra, Gautam's Uncle
Randeep Hooda as Kunal Ahuja, Meera's Husband (Extended Guest Appearance)
Manoj Pahwa as Lovely Chadda (Special Appearance)
Mia Uyeda as Jayshree (Special Appearance)
Tena Desae as Waitress (Special Appearance)
Priyanka Chopra was the original choice for the lead actress role, which later went to another actress. Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone were initially signed on to play the leads in the film, after their chemistry in the promos of Break Ke Baad struck a chord with the youth. However, the former declined the film and was consequently replaced by Saif Ali Khan, who decided to also produce the film under his production house Illuminati Films. Padukone was offered both the roles of Veronica and Meera, however the character of Meera was similar to her role in Love Aaj Kal and so she chose the role of Veronica as a challenge. Model Diana Penty, who was earlier supposed to play the female lead in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar, was later signed on to Cocktail instead, on Ali's suggestion, and thus made her debut in Bollywood.
Shooting of the film started at the end of May 2011, in London. Many scenes have been shot indoors, although the crew primarily filmed on the streets of London. Locations of the filming in London include Borough High Street, Borough market, Portobello Road, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Mayfair, Clapham Junction, Battersea Park, Bank Station, St. Pauls London, Colville Gardens (Notting Hill), and Brick Lane. The film was also shot in Cape Town, South Africa. Padukone has gyrated to a Punjabi party song (Main Sharaabi) at The Grand nightclub in Clapham Junction, by dancing on a table. This is reminiscent of a dance sequence in the song Chor Bazaari from Love Aaj Kal. Whilst security was extra tight on the day to prevent outsiders entering the premises, a DJ was hired for the music and club lights were also used to make the scene look as real as possible.
Earlier, it was reported that the theatrical trailer of the film would be attached to the prints of Khan's previous home production, Agent Vinod, although the makers decided against this for unknown reasons. The official trailer was eventually launched on 21 May 2012, to a phenomenal response from critics and audiences, crossing 1 million hits on YouTube within 3 days.
Rubina A Khan of Firstpost gave the movie 4/5 stars, saying that "Cocktail is a contemporary film that reflects life as it happens all around us…. just as crazy, twisted, beautiful, funny, weird and lonely as anyone's life can be. It's about easy choices and hard decisions and how life still goes on, despite it all. It's a cocktail you definitely wanna try!"
Khalid Mohamed of Deccan Chronicle gave the movie 3.5/5 stars, concluding that "Whatever the flaws and dips in energy-level, Cocktail is a feel-wonderful movie. Shake it, stir it and get nicely woozy." Meena Iyer of Times of India gave the movie 3.5/5 stars, commenting that "What Cocktail should be truly applauded for is its permissiveness. As a film it breaks shackles and ushers in a new free spirit that Gen-Now will relate to." Aniruddha Guha of DNA India gave the movie 3.5/5 stars, stating that "The best thing about Cocktail is that it is as different as a film can get within a very conventional format. My favourite scene has Gautam talk to Veronica and Meera together about his feelings towards each of them. "Look. You love me. I love her. Let's sort this mess out." A rare moment in Hindi cinema." Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times gave the movie 3.5/5 stars, commenting that "This cocktail is full of fizz."
Nabanita Roy of One India gave the movie 3/5 stars, concluding that "On the whole, Cocktail is colourful, fascinating and attention-grabbing. Though the movie suffers a few loopholes, but, you definitely can't ignore the threesome magic of Saif-Dippy-Diana." Resham Sengar of Zee News gave the movie 3/5 stars, stating that "'Cocktail' is worth a try!" Devesh Sharma of Filmfare gave the movie 3/5 stars, concluding that "All-in-all, it's a nice urban romance. But again, this isn't how I would like to describe a Imtiaz-Homi collaboration. You expected something with a twist, what you get is a pat too sweet – a Bloody Mary without the Vodka." Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the movie 3/5 stars, commenting that "Cocktail has just the right mix of fizz and flavour to allow the occasional and inevitable crinkles of triteness to flow well below the surface. It is definitely worth a visit to the multiplex." Vinayak Chakravorthy of India Today gave the movie 3/5 stars, concluding that "If Cocktail works, it is mainly for the characters Imtiaz has penned well as the cool with which the lead stars live them on screen." Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the movie 3/5 stars, saying that "On the whole, COCKTAIL has a fascinating first half, charismatic performances, harmonious music and the trendy look and styling as its aces, but the second half is not as tempting or intoxicating as the first hour. It pales when compared to the attention-grabbing first hour. Yet, all said and done, this one's primarily targeted at the Gen Next, especially those in metros, who might identify with the on-screen characters." Blessy Chettiar of DNA India gave the movie 3/5 stars, stating that "You can't hate a film like Cocktail nor can you love it in totality. If you've liked Ali's storytelling before, there's no harm in catching it at least once. Cheers!"
Bollywood Life gave the movie 2.5/5 stars, stating that "As for the film – very niche, very easy on the eye and ear and a lot of the time, very fun." Kaushik L.M of Behind Woods gave the movie 2.5/5 stars, concluding that "The light hearted fun and romance resurrect this cocktail." Shubhra Gupta of Indian Express gave the movie 2.5/5 stars, concluding that "Cocktail is nice while the fizz lasts." Roshni Devi of Koimoi gave the movie 2.5/5 stars, saying that "Cocktail is a nice and enjoyable movie for the dialogues, songs and performances. But the second half is a real drag."
Sonia Chopra of Sify gave the movie 2/5 stars, stating that "Drink this cocktail if you must; but be warned, the concoction isn't as appetizing as it looks!" That's So Gloss! echoed this criticism in a review, stating: "[Cocktail] says it's okay when the guy does it, but when a lady does the same thing, she is immoral, and society must punish her in some way. A textbook example of a "double-standard"." Martin D'Souza of Glamsham gave the movie 2/5 stars, saying that "It's a cocktail alright, but one which lacks punch. A flat drink with no fizz and lots of salt at the rim of the glass which knocks you back with its sting." Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave the movie 2/5 stars, concluding that "I'm going with two out of five for director Homi Adajania's Cocktail. With the right ingredients in the right proportions, this might have made for a smooth concoction. But Cocktail is a mostly flat romance; one that could've done with more heart." Janhavi Samant of Midday gave the movie 2/5 stars, stating that "There are people who love films about freefalling NRIs, who have jobs but never seem to work, who love the thrills of casual sex but only till they find a desi wife who wil serve home-cooked food, and who can go to Cape Town from London for just a weekend, and whose biggest crisis is to decide if what they feel is 'true' love. But this critic ain't one of them." Suparna Sharma of Deccan Chronicle gave the movie 2/5 stars, commenting that "Cocktail, because of its high sugar content, initially gives a heady rush, but leaves a bad hangover." Raja Sen of Rediff gave the movie 2/5 stars, commenting that "It's a pity, and not just because this could have been the great unconventional cinematic threesome we so desperately need. Cocktail has a handful of moments and a few genuine sparks, but finally crashes and burns so spectacularly that it's hard to focus on the positives. We must thank it, thus, for Diana Penty."
Kunal Guha of Yahoo! gave the movie 1.5/5 stars, stating that "One of the chief reasons why this cocktail fails to hit your sweet spot is because you don't empathize with any of the characters. There could be many reasons for this but to point one: none of them seem worthy of your attention and concern. Still keen to figure out who Saif ends up with? Why don’t you deduce it yourself like any mature adult would? I would recommend the scientific method used to pick item girls in films lately: Eenie Meenie…" Mayank Shekhar of Daily Bhaskar gave the movie 1.5/5 stars, concluding that "You feel worse for Saif aged 43. It's hard to tell how every woman he meets in the movie gets turned on by his random charms. The world is his playground. He still makes it seem vaguely convincing. Here's a big league actor at the top of his form. Look at his recent films: Agent Vinod, Aarakshan, Kurbaan. Forget those films. Just check out his performances. He could do with much better movies. Surely. Seriously."
The music of Cocktail is composed by Pritam, with lyrics by Irshad Kamil. The rights of a famous Pakistani Sufi song were bought for the film. "Alif Allah" (a celebration of Allah, Islamic prophet Muhammad and other Khalifs), originally sung and popularised by Pakistani Punjabi folk singer Arif Lohar, was revised.
"Angreji Beat", a Punjabi song sung by Yo Yo Honey Singh and featuring Gippy Grewal, is also used in the title credits, as well as the trailer, though hasn't been included in the album. One of the songs "Main Sharabi" has been composed by Singh and sung by famous Pakistani Qawal Aziz Mian's son Imran Aziz Mian.. The background score is composed by Salim-Sulaiman.
The music album of Cocktail received positive reviews. Tumhi Ho Bandhu, Daaru Desi and Second Hand Jawaani, which featured the three leads became chart-busters. Tumhi Ho Bandhu paved the way to get to the 1st position at the Radio-Mirchi top 100.
Cocktail had an excellent opening of 75–80% on average at multiplexes and having bumper opening at many multiplexes of North India at around 100%. The film had a very good first day as it collected around ₹10.75 crore (US$1.7 million) nett on day one. It showed good growth on Saturday as it collected ₹11.75 crore (US$1.8 million) nett. Cocktail had an extraordinary weekend at multiplexes than single screens as it notched up business of around ₹3.67 crore (US$570,000) nett from both. Cocktail held up well on Monday as it collected around ₹6 crore (US$940,000) nett Cocktail collected around ₹5 crore (US$780,000) nett on Tuesday . The business after five days is approx ₹46.75 crore (US$7.3 million) nett. Cocktail did good business in its first week as it collected ₹54.50 crore (US$8.5 million) nett approx at the domestic box office, making it the first multiplex-targeted film to cross the ₹50 crore (US$7.8 million) mark in the first week. Cocktail grossed ₹17.25 crore (US$2.7 million) nett approx in week two. Cocktail fell badly in its third week due to new releases. The film has collected ₹73 crore (US$11 million) nett in three weeks. It was declared a box office hit. At domestic market its final figures came at ₹75 crore (US$12 million). The film's final all-India distributor share was ₹37.25 crore (US$5.8 million)
Cocktail opened well in overseas markets . The opening was around $2.6 million. Cocktail dropped in its second weekend and has grossed ₹20.71 crore (US$3.2 million) in ten days. The film eventually collected US$4.50 million overseas.
Cocktail was released on DVD and VCD by Eros International on 13 Sep 2012. The DVD is a 2-Disc edition, having Bonus Features on a separate DVD along with. The Blu-ray of Cocktail was released on 29 Sep 2012, again a 2-Disc edition (Blu-ray + DVD) with Bonus Features on the DVD.