Film: We Are Family (U)
Director: Sidharth Malhotra
Cast: Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, and others
Okay, We Are Family is Stepmom, we all know that. Buying official rights means the makers can unabashedly retain elements, even dialogues, from the original. And they have. Remember ‘stepmom’ Julia Roberts telling ‘mom’ Susan Sarandon about how she will deck up her elder daughter for her wedding years later? This one has our desi Roberts (Kapoor) saying the exact same words to Sarandon aka Kajol, only in Hindi.
This is no adaptation. It’s a remake. There is not much change in terms of plot. The eldest child in the family is still the brat, the younger ones are cute. The mother is perceived as a bore, the stepmother a glamorous doll. Mama suffers from a terminal illness in this one, too.
The point then is: why watch We Are Family (WAF) at all?
The answer to that question is not something the makers of WAF would like to know. For Karan Johar — the film is a safe bet. It's familiar territory for his banner, Dharma Productions — the story has enough heartwarming, tear-inducing, mush-filled moments to have got a nod from the maverick producer. But while the art of making people cry and laugh through the story of the protagonist dying a slow death was perfected by Johar in Kal Ho Naa Ho, this one falls a great degree short.
You know the story. Aman (Rampal) and Maya (Kajol) are divorced, with two daughters and a son. Aman wants his girlfriend Shreya (Kapoor) to be close to his kids. But with the kids not taking too kindly to the ‘other woman’ in their father’s life and cold vibes between the two women, things get complicated. Until Maya is diagnosed with cervical cancer. Things get even more complicated thereafter.
The film does have its heartwarming moments, but not enough. Kajol’s portrayal of Maya, especially, is befitting the amazing talent you associate her with. When she looks at Aman with a certain sense of helplessness in her eyes, holds on to her kids knowing she won’t be around much longer, and when she is shrivelled and gaunt in the film’s penultimate moments, Kajol is just too good.
In contrast, Kapoor looks like a million bucks and is charming when interacting with the kids. She may not be able to match Kajol’s histrionics but definitely holds her own.
Rampal plays the supporting role to the film’s two ‘heroes’ with surprising maturity. After Rock On!! and Raajneeti, WAF established his amazing turnaround as an actor.
The three children in the film are cast quite well, too. If only they weren’t so obviously cute all the time.
For director Malhotra, it’s as lacklustre a debut as can get. With a narrative that leaves no room for imagination, actors who can sleepwalk through their roles, and production values that you associate with every Dharma film, there is almost nothing in the film that helps him make a mark of his own.
The problem with WAF is that it gives you a ‘I’ve-seen-this-before-a-