We Are Family - Movie Review

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Old 02-Sep-2010
We Are Family - Movie Review

Watch it for Kajol

How much you are going to be moved by Karan Joharís latest production We Are Family depends on your EQ, or rather its bent. If the scenes of a terminally ill mother of three kids lying on her deathbed and admonishing her replacement stepmom about taking over the family can fling open wide the floodgates to your tear ducts, then the first thing you should do after reading this review is scoot off to a nearby theatre to book the tickets for this attempted kerchief-soaker. If not, then fall back on your patience to wait for one of the telly reruns of Chris Columbusís subtly incisive 1998 film Stepmom, whose official remake We Are Family is.

Yes, for a change, Bollywood takes the right route to remake one of the hits from its more gifted though less productive elder cousin across the Atlantic. Handing over the directorial reins to the first-timer Siddharth Malhotra, producer Karan Johar relies on scriptwriter Venita Coelho (donít be misled by her second name) and dialogue writer Niranjan Iyenger to Indianize the story of an emotional tug of war between two women - a divorced mom (Kajol) of three kids and the present girlfriend (Kareena Kapoor) of her ex hubby. Goes without saying that the former is more efficient in making a family than the latter, who is career-minded and ill-at-ease with kids who expectedly brand her as ĎDayaní.

Stuck between the two is the man himself (Arjun Rampal), trying his best to do the balancing act between being a loving dad, caring ex hubby and devoted boyfriend. He loves his girlfriend, but canít live without his kids from ex wife. His girlfriend loves him, so she tries to win over the kids (Aanchal Munjal, Nominath Ginsberg and Diya Sonecha). Thereby the two women end up in the same household. But the question is - can two women make a happy home? Not a chance in hell, some would hold. But itís possible when one of them is bowing out and the other gradually stepping into the breach.

For a K-Jo production, We Are Family is surprisingly restrained on melodrama save for its final half hour when the director pulls every string to get the hankies wet. The sentiment-crammed finale could give many a viewer enough lumps in the throat. I, however, was left with cloyed senses.

With Kajol and Kareena pitted against each other, itís a curious ensemble to gauge their acting mettle. Kajol, must be said, internalizes her character of a mom much better. Her character is envious and possessive, dominating yet succumbing, helpless yet comforting, with all the expressions and moods switching from one to another within a few frames. Kareena, though hold her place, doesnít really stand out. But whatís worth watching is the chemistry between the two actresses. The icy glances, acerbic retorts, cold vibes between them is all too visible. Arjun Rampal is certainly moving up the learning curve but still has a long way to go. Though he tries his best, he canít bring out the subdued intensity his character required, something Ed Harris did with aplomb in the original. The kids perform well, but itís Aanchal Munjal who wins your heart with her natural act.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loyís music is as dull as is stunning the locales of Australia captured by Mohananís camera. Director Siddharth P Malhotra makes a promising debut but doesnít really come up with a movie that touches you deep within. In between the dribs and drabs of truly moving moments, he puts in a few light moments as well (the noodle war, the ĎJailhouse Rockí rendition, et al).

Watch the film for Kajol, if you must.

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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