wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
We Are Family of a little sister called Cliche, big brother Predictability and brat teenage sister, Implausibility. Our big daddy is Mr. Patronizing Dialogue and soccer mom is the Great Indian Kangan. Oh yeah and our stepmom is Stepmom.Read more
We Are Family = Stepmom in Hindi. Of course, it is going to be Indian-ized! You see the beginning with the casting. Supposedly, our Indian palate is better satisfied by a hunk, Arjun Rampal who woos Kajol and Kareena Kapoor in one go. Versus the balding, Ed Harris.
We are family - For some reason this title for a Karan Johar film gives me the heebie-jeebies. His films are between Mr.-Two-Goodie-Shoes Vs. Mr.-not-human characters. Most situations are exaggerated. I understand, he's only We are family's producer and not director; but when the director goes on record saying, "I feel truly blessed that I'm working for the man whose cinema he has worshipped", my blood pressure is absolutely justified in going up a few notches. I'm reminding myself that Karan Johar has also produced Wake Up Sid.
Actually, Dharma Productions truly, absolutely, categorically needs appreciation because this film is the OFFICIAL REMAKE of an English film. Yep, we live in times when taking permission of original film-owners needs special mention and applause. Not because they had the patience to wait the process out for a couple of years. But because not too many others bother going through the 'right thing to do.' I think our angst against the filmmakers would reduce by a significant percentage if credit and handsome amounts of hard cash were given where they were due.
In fact, they have gone a step ahead and bought the rights for Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock". If they are setting a trend here, they can be excused a 100 crimes (of which only 99 remain because they have cold-bloodedly slaughtered the song they paid for).
Remake-makers are in a no-win situation. If the film is not liked the verdict is, 'they can't even copy properly' and if you like the film, in all likelihood, you are going to say, "Well, they copied. So it's not really their work." I have worked my conscience out this whole 'remake' debate. A film is a film is a film. You either like it or not or more often than not - both together. While I tried to pen my thoughts down about my take on "adaptations" and such, The Bollywood Ticket expresses the case more elaborately.
Even Avatar (2009), which broke box-office records for an American film in India, still grossed much less in India than the Bollywood film 3 Idiots (2009), which released around the same time. So why would Bollywood filmmakers even want to remake films that Indian audiences don't want to see? The truth is, they don't.Now that last one is a huge YAY!
And what exactly constitutes a remake anyway? The Hindi film Jism (2003) has been called a remake of Body Heat (1981), which is a remake of Double Indemnity (1944), which is based on a true story. So, is Jism really a remake or is it based on the true story, too?
In May, Indian entertainment conglomerate Reliance sold remake rights to the 2007 Bollywood hit Johnny Gaddaar to a U.S. producer.
After that long aside, Stepmom is and We Are Family is very likely to be a saddish, serious movie. Likewise, We Are Family better be a tear-jerker too. Towards that end, it does look promising -
And of course, we cannot handle too much emotion, and we need our break. By the way, the following song trailer got me really upset. No, not because Kajol was pregnant when she was doing this. Because it gives so much of the movie away! And makes the film even more predictable than it already is. Not to mention, that the lyrics which mean, "I can't remember the lyrics to this song, so I'm just singing words on and on" which actually sounds more like the lyricist had a writer's block and penned his condition down.
I think I'm going to be happy as long as it is not a Kajol screeching vs. Kareena shrieking duel. And there's always a new promo to look forward to (Guzaarish) Ok, I'll stop being mean and just wait for September 3rd for We are family.
By the way, do watch the other promos here to for the beautiful locations.
Ps. Music Reviews -
Milliblog - Karan Johar’ish predictability, with a new-found maturity.
Apun Ka Choice - overdose of melodrama
Hindustan Times - nothing extraordinary
Rediff - Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's effort in We Are Family is nowhere close to this afore-mentioned legacy
This article was first published at meetu's Times of India Blog
- meeta, a part of the audience
We Are Family...hmmm the name still gave me the creeps as I entered the theater. Shrugging it off, I settled myself in for a cushy, melodramatic, soap opera - the English version of which I've seen. I wondered as I walked out, "Does one well-made teary scene, warrant a 'good' opinion?" I didn't have the heart to write-off a film for its thousand flaws when it managed to have one scene that touched me because it was written, performed and directed well. Even if most of the emotion is because of the way I identified with the situation, "Oh my God! What if I'm dying and I have to tell my kids about it?" boo-hoo-hoooo-tissue-please Ok, now that we are done with the 'credit where it's due bit', I feel liberated and let the 'ripping apart' begin!
We'll start soft, just like the film. It is a mature concept and the big picture is actually non-standard considering the typical Hindi family stories. When you start watching Stepmom you feel like you have started reading a book from the middle of a chapter. We Are Family sort-of covers that gap and gives a more rounded beginning. Also, the missing backstory of the three main leads, from Stepmom, is provided briefly. And the short one or two line descriptions work perfectly. And the stage is set for a fine melodrama...or not.
The performances aren't what I feared - shrieks and shrills or over-the-top. But they fail to move or get you interested, let alone involved. Mom-type Kajol; strong yet unsure, Kareena Kapoor and hunk dad Arjun Rampal show you their dilemma and the struggle, but none of them make you don't feel for them. Maybe because the characters have flaws and they are not necessarily good human beings. But they are not bad enough to hate. Awesome gray characters I've always been waiting for, but they still seem out of a book, not real human beings. And it is difficult to point out what exactly didn't work in the writing and execution of these three characters.
The kids on the other hand are pretty much caricatures that are plucked from one filmy stereotype to another. Actually, I got that wrong. Not all three of them are designed that way. The little boy, has absolutely nothing to do. His middle name might as well have been, 'Haven't a clue why I exist.' The writer's cluelessness transcends barriers of the fourth wall to haunt the audience.
I don't think there was any attempt at all to make the film's events unpredictable. The trailer itself gives away the main elements of the film by way of dialogue, sequences, songs or make-up. Moreover, why would one watch We Are Family instead of Stepmom? There is hardly any value addition or Indianization. Unless you count making it with 3 kids instead of 2 and having a "kangan" (bangle) scene.
Oops! How could I forget how they allude to the idea that woman's ultimate aim in life is to get married. And then directly go on to say that being a mother comes with the XX chromosome! Without getting into an argument about the modern woman versus the traditional idea of a woman's role in society, I'd like to say that these concepts are rather regressive. Not to mention that two women who were/are in love with the same guy are shown dancing together. I mean, I'm sure there are many women who'd get along that way, but here it wasn't convincing enough.
The concept of We Are Familyconstantly reminded me of what I remember as a beautiful film, Mere Baad where Rakhee Gulzar plays a mom of four kids. It's a soul-touching film about how she goes about looking for foster parents for her kids after she's diagnosed with a fatal disease. No, We Are Family is nowhere close to being that sensitive, but I suddenly feel like digging that one out. Any pointers for where to start?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...It's a brave effort on Johar's part to give a larger-than-life look and feel to an emotional tearjerker, especially at a time when everything other than action and comedy has taken a backseat... full review
Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...It is to the director's credit that he manages to extract such intense, yet controlled performances from both these women, thus never allowing the movie to become screechy and melodramatic.... full review
Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ... Very few mainstream films manage to look as good on the surface and also capture the heart. "We Are Family" is equally appealing from the outside and at the heart.... full review
So-So, by Gaurav Malani, Express India : ... You never know or wish to know what went wrong between the two but at the same time also wonder what makes them so amiable despite the divorce... full review
Thumbs down, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...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... full review
Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...everything happens so perfectly and nicely within a rich family to such a level that it all becomes completely uninteresting, unmoving and pointless... full review
Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...To be fair, Rampal gets better playtime in the Indian adaptation. And he also looks suitably dishy for his target audience, as We Are Familyagainst a bald, old, divorced, charmless Ed Harris... full review
Thumbs down, by Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ...It comes as no surprise to know that Tupperware and Poggenpohl (a brand of modular kitchens) have paid for inhouse placement in We Are Family. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Amrita Ranjan, Indiequill : ...Kareena, as the somewhat reluctant other woman, is pretty darn good, particularly when Shreya is calling out Maya and Aman on their respective blind spots. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Preeti Arora, Rediff : ...There are the mandatory scenes of Kareena trying to build a connect with her to-be step-kids. But their interactions are jerky and seem foisted on the story.... full review
Thumbs down, by Roy, The Friday Freak : ...Dude, if ninety percent of thirteen year old kids did what this girl does in the movie, she’d spend her entire life in a juvenile home – not get pampered with a flower petal nail polish at the end of the movie.... full review
Thumbs down, by filmbear, Upper Stall : ...The director has even resisted taking a direct shot of the Sydney Opera House, choosing instead to reflect it in a window during a song montage. Now this is production value. ... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
Want to Watch, by Tammy : Fort Qu'appelle
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Aman (Arjun Rampal) has divorced Maya (Kajol) and is now seeing Shreya (Kareena Kapoor). Aman and Maya have three kids who are now to be told about Shreya. And that's not the only complication.