WE ARE FAMILY
The most outstanding part of “WE ARE FAMILY” is its honest admission of it being an adaptation of the famous 1999 Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts starrer “STEPMOM”. STEPMOM won our hearts not only because of the excellent portrayals, but because it was easy for the audience to visualise such a happening in the American context.
WE ARE FAMILY tries hard to be faithful to the original with only cosmetic changes to Indianise the story and the debutant director Siddharth Malhotra goes about his task in a copybook manner. There are no surprises and turns; the dialogues are straight forward and Siddharth assumes that the story in an Indian context will sound more plausible if the setting is in Australia. But even for Indians living in Australia, two incredulities stand out rather glaringly. One is the warmth that is shown between the estranged partners, particularly when the estrangement seems to have taken place because of frequent fights between them. The second is the concept of succession planning for the role of the mother even when the mother is hale and hearty. These two issues cast their pall on the whole movie and more than offset the sincere and earnest efforts by everyone. If only Karan Johar, who co-produces this movie had suggested to Siddharth that the storyline needed to be modified to make sure that the situations involving the two leading women and the hero was caused by a string of incidents, then the picture might have been well received by a large percentage of the audience.
Like in every K Jo film, the K factor is present here in the form of the two heroines, Kajol and Kareena, both of whom deliver superbly. The surprise is Arjun Rampal, whose wooden expressions amply convey the helplessness of the guy who is pulled in different directions by what he feels towards his children, his former wife and his present romantic interest. This is best highlighted by the dialogue uttered by one of the children about how the dad has not been able to manage with one woman and still is risking bringing in the second woman under the same roof! That was the only light part in the movie, whose director seems to have felt that since this movie is about a serious issue, everyone has to have a serious air. The children’s dialogues and their antics might appear cute, but come across as more doctored than natural; one can’t but help but contrast this with the excellent performances of the children in a similar situation in Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom.
The music by Shankar Ehsan Loy includes two well picturised tunes, but will just have as short a life span as the movie itself. So we have a package where there is good acting, a few well emoted tear jerking scenes, good costumes, faithful sticking to the original and yet resulting in a far less impactful presentation. Not bad, but not good either! Just average fare!