Release date: 3september2010.
We are Family Hindi Movie Review:
Story and Movie Analysis:
By now the world knows that Karan Johar’s We Are Family is an ‘official’ remake of Hollywood flick Stepmom (1999). What many might not know is that even the original wasn’t absolutely original and derived its roots from a 1950 film No Sad Songs For Me or the 1995 American TV series The Other Woman .
Here you have a screenplay originally credited to five Hollywood writers and Indianized by two Bollywood counterparts. By Indianizing Karan Johar doesn’t intend to place the plot in India. The producer can’t get over the NRI fixation and this time stations his story in Australia. Also perhaps an Indian setting could have been less convincing for the fact that a sauteli maa won’t be as sought after as the successor for the kids in a country where extended joint families would be a better bet. The nuclear NRI family setup gives more significance to the being of a stepmom.
For the makers, adding own elements equates to populating the plot with three kids instead of two in the original. Of course director Siddharth Malhotra, an erstwhile assistant to Sooraj Barjatya, also appends a marriage ceremony as an epilogue to the narrative.
The story is about Aman (Arjun Rampal) and Maya (Kajol) who are divorced yet cordially connected for the sake of their three kids. Aman has found new love in Shreya (Kareena Kapoor) and wants her to warm up to his kids. Despite Shreya’s genuine attempts, the kids give her a cold shoulder. And Maya doesn’t want Shreya to be anywhere in the close vicinity of her children. Until she is diagnosed of cervical cancer! Having only a few months to survive, Maya’s prime concern is the future of her kids and suddenly she sees Shreya as her ideal substitute.
Malhotra’s storytelling is crisp and he doesn’t splurge any screen-time in elaborating the background account of Aman and Maya or what lead to their separation. You never know or wish to know what went wrong between the two but at the same time also wonder what makes them so amiable despite the divorce. But you surely wish to know what happened to Karan Johar’s Indian culture endorsement when, in a scene, the mother apologizes to her eldest daughter for being responsible for her uncool persona by not allowing her to booze or have fun with boys. A sequence straight out of Baghban (the Rimi Sen – Hema Malini sequence), it doesn’t go in sync with the family feel of the film but culminates more prudently.
The terminally-ill protagonist in the film evidently brings back memories of Karan Johar’s earlier production Kal Ho Na Ho . But this one doesn’t succeed in becoming as optimistic and cheerful as the earlier attempt. Though the dying protagonist in both films believe in living life to the fullest, the female patient in We Are Family largely shapes the film as a tearjerker unlike the lighthearted effervescence of SRK’s KHNH . Also unlike KHNH where the therapeutic procedure was restricted to a single hospital scene in the climax, here the medical ordeal of Kajol is prolonged in the second half. Thankfully Malhotra evades the inevitable death sequence like in KHNH but not before including a long-drawn-out family photograph sentimental scene.
Like any Dharma Production is expected to do, even this one touches you heart strings with its poignant moments. The track of the eldest daughter who is more mature amongst the trio and her dislike towards Shreya shapes up interestingly. The theatrical clashes between the Kajol and Kareena adds density to the drama but at several instances you feel not much tension is buildup between the two and the drama reaches its pinnacle ahead of time. This clash of the titans faintly reminds of the Sridevi-Urmila Matondkar conflict from Judaai (1997) and concludes in a similar manner with the two women getting in sync.
Both Kajol and Kareena come up with convincing performances. Kajol as the matriarch is authoritative and confident as always. Watch her in the scene where she breaks down or where she reveals about her imminent death to her kids. Simply superb! Kareena gives a mature performance as the career-woman who moulds herself as a prospective mother. Arjun Rampal adds grace to his character and is decent in his part. He never exerts too much yet doesn’t get lost in the female dominated film. However his bearded look in the final scene was absolutely uncalled for. Aanchal Munjal as the elder daughter is poised and remarkable. The younger daughter Diya Sonecha tries too hard to be cute with her mugged up lines but is only partly amusing.
Mohanan’s cinematography comprises of too many close-up shots and with an almost ‘in-house drama’ one doesn’t get to see much of Australian exteriors. But no complains since the story doesn’t drift for external beauty. Editor Deepa Bhatia keeps the narrative tight though the climax could have been crisper. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s musical score isn’t something you take home after the film. Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogues are decent but you can predict instances when the emotional lines would be repeated in the film for the effect.
This is the kind of film where all the moms and stepmoms of the world are assured to cry buckets. Watch it for some ‘familiar’ entertainment.