Written by: Karan Johar & Sidharth Malhotra
Directed by: Sidharth Malhotra
Starring: Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Nominath Ginsberg, Aachal Munjal, Diya Sonecha
We Are Family is the official Bollywood adaptation of the Hollywood movie Stepmom. I say official because the remake rights for this movie had been purchased by the production house Dharma Productions (which is a rarity in most of the production houses). The movie has Kajol, Kareena Kapoor (Asoka) and Arjun Ramphal in the leads with the child artists Nominath, Aachal and Diya supporting them. The movie delivers and it is a pretty good watch.
The story is about a divorced couple Maya (Kajol) and Aman (Arjun Ramphal) and their three kids Aleya (Aachal), Ankush (Nominath), and Anjali (Diya) living in Sydney. Aman is in love with Shreya (Kareena Kapoor) and intends to marry her. The trouble starts when he invites Shreya home to meet his kids. However, it comes as a shock to Maya as she is unaware of Aman’s intentions of marrying Shreya, and a series of events ensure that the kids also end up hating Shreya. Aman is torn between his love for the kids and Shreya. A sudden turn of events results in Maya inviting Shreya into their life and family. Why Shreya gets invited into the family, what happens when the two women try to run the home in their own unique way, and what the kids and Aman go through during this process are the themes depicted through the movie.
[ad#longpost]The movie remains faithful to the original, and that is the biggest plus. The sequences are adapted to suit the Indian family depicted in the movie. As for performances, Kajol is a powerhouse! After appearing in My Name is Khan, she depicts the emotions of the kids-loving-mother exceedingly well. She is natural and top class! She is one of the actresses whose career has survived her marriage. She still gets meaningful, author-backed roles and she delivers in each and every single one of them. Kareena Kapoor is a treat to watch. She acts very well and is extremely likable as the patient, understanding Shreya. She holds her own in all scenes involving her and Kajol, which in itself is amazing. Arjun Ramphal is apt for his role–at the end of the movie one cannot think of a better actor suited for it. Though this is a woman-oriented subject and his scenes are limited, he makes the most of his screen time. He surely has progressed as an actor and his acting in the emotional sequences is worth mentioning.
Coming to the kids, who are again the hearts of the movie, the smallest one, Diya, is charming. She beats the other two in terms of performance as well. Nominath as Ankush takes a back seat in terms of screen presence and importance given compared to his on-screen siblings. However, there is a hilarious scene involving him and Arjun, which ensures he is still remembered at the end of the movie. Aachal as the eldest stubborn child Aleya is strictly okay. There is always a feeling that another child artist perhaps could have added in some more impact to the role compared to her.
Direction is top notch. First-time director Siddharth Malhotra ensures his first movie is as absorbing as it gets–he gets the best from all. The movie has extremely high emotional content, and in all of those sequences, especially the ones involving Kajol and the kids, Kajol and Kareena are handled exceedingly well. A couple of songs are added into the narration, which are just fine and do not disturb the proceedings. One of them–“Let’s Rock”–has interesting lyrics and the choreography is worth mentioning: we have Kajol, Kareena and Arjun on the dance floor and it’s a treat to watch the trio have a blast! It is a kind of a breather in an otherwise densely emotional movie. The editors have done a good job ensuring the movie does not drag on, which is extremely necessary for a movie like this. There is an extended ending compared to the original.
Overall, We Are Family is a very good adaptation of Stepmom that keeps emotions high, delivers extremely likable performances from the cast and is very well directed. If you’ve not seen the original, it will surely make for a good watch, and if you’ve loved Stepmom, you could still see this to find out how the movie works with a Hindi spin on it!