In an industry where films are blatantly lifted or rather 'inspired', this is perhaps the first time official rights have been bought by a Bollywood producer. Kudos to Dharma Productions for that. Certainly a step(mom) in the right direction.
Even though WE ARE FAMILY is an official remake of the 1998 Susan Sarandon-Julia Roberts-Ed Harris starrer STEPMOM, it isn't a scene-by-scene replica and has been Indianised. It's like Indian Chinese noodles - spicy yet delectable.
The very first scene of the film has Aman (Arjun Rampal) romancing Shreya (Kareena Kapoor) in a song shot in exotic locations. Just when you feel everything's going right with the couple, comes a twist. Aman has three kids from his previous marriage, Aleya (Aanchal Munjal), Ankush (Nominath Ginsburg), and Anjali (Diya Sonecha). Although divorced from Arjun, Maya (Kajol) is a perfect mother who does everything right for her kids. Things go completely haywire when Arjun introduces Shreya to the kids, who completely loathe her. Anjali even calls her a 'wicked witch'. An untoward incident brings Maya, Shreya, Arjun and the kids under one roof.
Debutante director Siddharth P. Malhotra's WE ARE FAMILY is a tearjerker with its superlative story telling. It makes you smile in some parts and leaves you moist-eyed in the others. But that's what Kjo's cinema is known for, hai na?
However, after it's over, you do feel something was missing. The climax, though good, doesn't elevate to the desired level. No doubt it's a sombre subject. But one wishes, the treatment was a bit lighter as it becomes too morose in parts. Nevertheless, it's heart rending, poignant, and makes you realise the importance of family and relationships. It's predictable, but one doesn't really mind that.
Some scenes worth mentioning here. In a heated argument with Shreya, Maya questions her, 'Maa se kuch seekha nahin?' Shreya retorts, 'Nahin. Jab main teen mahine ki thi, meri maa guzar gayi.' It's deplorable. The last scene looks like a hasty 20-year-leap from an Ekta Kapoor serial. Ankush telling his father Arman, 'Tell me about it. Aur ab aap ek aur le aaye hain,' while discussing girls, is grin worthy.
The music by Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy is the weakest part, with just Jailhouse Rock being good. Kajol and Kareena set the floor on fire in it. Mohanan's cinematography captures the beautiful locales of Australia effectively. Raju Singh's background music is excellent, creating a huge impact in the dramatic scenes.
Just one word for Kajol: Brilliant! A T-shirt which she sports in the film says, 'Nothing happens without me', which really holds true. She's the heart and soul of the film. Kareena Kapoor is great too. At no point does she try to overshadow Kajol, yet stands out. Arjun Rampal gives a very restrained and balanced performance. HOUSEFULL, RAAJNEETI and now WE ARE FAMILY. He's on a roll. The kids, Aanchal Munjal, Nominath Ginsburg and Diya Sonecha are exceptional. Diya is the best of the lot and gets the maximum footage.
WE ARE FAMILY is a 'family' entertainer. This STEPMOM (remake) isn't bad. Watch it with your entire family and a bunch of tissues.