We Are Family: Unimpressive

So what went wrong in Karan Johar’s latest production We Are Family which definitely is a personal disappointment to many of us that would most likely make it a box-office disaster ? Two things come into mind in reply: the shoddy direction by a first-timer and the poor screenplay that seems to serve no purpose whatsoever.

Aman (Arjun Rampal) and Maya (Kajol) are divorced and now lives their own separate lives; Maya with their three kids, Aman with his girlfriend Shreya (Kareena Kapoor). When Aman introduces Shreya to his family, much to their utter dislike, the kids establish an instant hatred towards Shreya, labeling her as ‘the witch’. Maya tries to remain indifferent even though it troubles her deep inside.

Once Shreya had to babysit the kids when Aman’s away at work, it proved to be a difficult test which she failed miserably despite her efforts at making friends with her soon-to-be step kids. This blunder costs her dearly when Maya, in her rage, refuses to allow the kids to be with Shreya without her supervision or permission.

Maya is forced to reconsider Shreya’s role in her kids’ lives, however, when she discovers that her days on earth are numbered. The whole family, even Shreya, is rattled to learn that Maya is dying. Over time, the two women of polar opposites had to find a way to tolerate whatever differences they have in the greater good to give the best for the kids, even settling for the extreme situation of living under the same roof.

Even with an extremely predictable plot (based on Hollywood hit Stepmom), many would expect an equally heart-tugging family tragedy as its Hollywood counterpart but with a more dramatic Bollywood spin to it. I know I did. But you’d be dissatisfied with its clichéd dialogues and lame attempt at recreating the original version starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon that made many a heart cry out loud.

If the first-time director Siddharth Malhotra has treated it with the right ingredients and the careful precision of an emotionally-charged family drama (like Stepmom), We Are Family could have been a heart-rending movie that would be remembered for a long time. What we got instead is the opposite of what we expected: an unconvincing array of emotional scenes that appeared to have been rather forced, lacking the creativity and the emotional element of any good family drama. (Did the director even watched Stepmom?!)

Why attempt to recreate something so poignant if you don’t have the confidence to create it equally or more poignant than the original version? We don’t need a lesser version (which unfortunately We Are Family is all about – a lesser version of Stepmom.) Instead of feeling empathy for the family in tragic times, you find yourself sighing in exasperation. Now what was that about the epilogue scene in this movie? More like, stretching what has been stretched beyond the limits of irritation.

It is sad to admit here that the songs score even less in this film. This is an absolute shame, especially in Karan Johar standards.

Not surprisingly, the only saving grace of the film has nothing to do with any cinematic aspect of it. The credit goes to the two leading ladies: Kajol and Kareena Kapoor. Even more for Kareena as her role demands a certain amount of versatility that we have not seen her attempt before. While Arjun Rampal’s character is more or less wasted, the kids provide comic relief at times.

By far, the most unimpressive and disappointing work produced by Karan Johar. Maybe it is high time Johar learns that original ideas trump remakes. Big time!

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