Friday, September 3

We Are Family

Movie - We Are Family (Hindi)
Director - Siddharth P Malhotra

Producer - Karan Johar
Cast - Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Aanchal Munjal, Nominath Ginsburg, Diya Sonecha
Music - Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy
Cinematography - Mohanan
Editing - Deepa Bhatia
Story, Screenplay - Based on 'Stepmom', Venita Coelho, Gigi Levangie, Jessie Nelson, Steve Rogers, Karen Leigh Hopkins, Ron Bass
Dialogues - Niranjan Iyengar
Release Date - 2nd September 2010

There are over a billion people living in India and yet, Bollywood filmmakers choose to tell stories of people living outside India alone? This is the question that kept cropping into my mind while watching We Are Family. If a popular English movie is adapted into an Indian movie, the basic step would be to set it in India. But here, the makers have placed the story in Australia and the movie looks more of an English movie rather than a Hindi movie. Over half of the film's dialogues are in English and the only things taken from our cinema are the cliches. So why bother remaking the movie then? The target audience of this movie is definitely is the multiplex-going city crowd. And it is pretty obvious that most of those people would have either seen Stepmom or are completely aware of its entire storyline. So the remake itself becomes pointless. If the movie was adapted to tell the story of an Indian family, set in India with a complete departure from the western style of storytelling, this remake would have had a point. But sadly, it doesnt have any. 

We Are Family is heavily cliched and plain boring. None of the characters strike a chord with you and even when they are going through the toughest of situations, you do not feel for them. I haven't seen Stepmom myself (but I was aware of its storyline), and I myself didnt like the movie. So imagine the state of the people who have seen the far superior work in Stepmom?

The storyline goes like this - Maya (Kajol) lives with her 3 kids Aaleya (Aanchal), Ankush (Nominath) and Anjali (Diya) and is divorced from her husband Aman (Arjun Rampal) who is still friends with her and keeps visiting them often. Aman has a girlfriend Shreya (Kareena) whom he wishes to marry and he wants her to be friends with his 3 kids. But Shreya's attempts to be friends with the kids are all in vain as they hate her completely, and so does Maya. Later, Maya learns that she's got Cancer and doesnt have many days left. So she feels only Shreya can be a good mom to her kids and brings her home. What happens after Shreya moves in forms the rest of the story. 

Kajol gives a fine performance but she is given some really silly dialogues which takes the charm off the fine performance. And she had already delivered an amazing performance as a single mom earlier this year in My Name is Khan. This comes nowhere close to that. Arjun remains a mute spectator for most of the time, but still he manages to be decent at that. Kareena Kapoor plays her part ordinarily and her performance is nothing worth talking about. The elder kids Aanchal and Nominath are okay, but it is the little Diya who steals the show. She is the only one who makes the audience smile at least once in a while. I'm sure Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon wouldnt be happy with this 'official' remake. 

The representation of the kids is one of the most cliched aspects of this film. The elder one is the indifferent one, the young boy is a nerd who loves to read books and wants to become an astronaut when he grows up and the youngest one lives in a dream world of fairies and barbies. Come on!! Today's children are not so dumb and they're much smarter than us adults in many things. Then there are the typical Karan Johar signatures, like two people sitting and talking on a bench, the heartbeat background score, colour co-ordinated rooms and the boring person who suddenly turns cool at a disco (a la Its the Time to Disco). There's even a show thats put up in the climax to prove to Kajol what a wonderful mom she has been. Everyone except Kareena grow up during Aaleya's wedding in the climax. Kareena still looks the same and Arjun looks ridiculous with a fake beard. And how come Arjun and Kareena never had any kids after Kajol died? 

The music is nothing worth remembering and doesnt sound like a Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy soundtrack at all. The erstwhile brilliant composers are going through a rough patch now. Cinematography by Mohanan is good. But, except for a few, all movies being shot abroad have begun to look the same (to me at least). Art Direction is done keeping in mind that it is a Karan Johar production. So are the costumes. Editing is fine. Dialogues by the usually good Niranjan Iyengar are disastrous and does a lot of harm to the movie.   

All in all, We Are Family is a disappointing fare. Despite having 2 great actresses and an already proven script as its strong points, it fails to score and ends up being a boring and cliched film which is quite tedious to watch. 

Rating - 2/5

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