We Are Family is a good looking film that emotionally tugs at your heart strings from start to finish. It is a simple story (official adaptation of Hollywood film Step Mom) which is raised many notches higher by superlative performances by the entire star cast. Karan Johar is doing a big service to Bollywood by introducing fresh talented directors like Siddharth Malhotra who makes a confident, assured debut.
We have had several Hindi films over the years that have delved into Man-Woman and the Other-Woman space. In many ways, you can predict the story of We Are Family if you are a Hindi movie buff. But the treatment is such that it keeps you glued to the screen. And yes, don't forget to carry loads of tissues. You'll need it. I cried while watching a movie after a LONG time. By the end of the film, all you wish to do is to realise how fortunate you are to have a wonderful family and that your near-n-dear ones are all around you.
As almost all of Karan Johar films, WAF is based in an urban setting where affluence seems like a given reality. Language spoken in the film is sophisticated Hinglish. Nothing wrong with that. It is a context and one should respect that. Aman (Arjun Rampal) is a fashion photographer who has parted ways with his wife Maya (Kajol). They have three precocious kids and Aman has a girlfriend Shriya (Kareena Kapoor) who is unable to find acceptance in his family. And then the kahani-mein-twist and what happens ...ever after.
As I've mentioned earlier, the performances are spectacular. Kajol is such an amazing performer that each time you feel she delivered her career best performance, she comes up with something even better. One sentiment that stoically makes a home in your heart after watching her act in this film is ....RESPECT. Watch her childishly (and at other times sternly) interact with the three kids. Moments of jealousy towards Kareena even though she got her in the house to ease up her own life. Subdued confrontations with Arjun without going over the top. And the best one is when she smashes kitchen utensils fighting with her own destiny. Wow!
Kareena Kapoor is outstanding in the film. There's a vulnerable innocence in her performance which is very likable. Her styling is chic-n-comfy. The best part about her performance is that she doesn't try to outshine Kajol. She remains herself and emerges victorious. Her scenes with the three kids are poignant, funny and very endearing. Some of the confrontation scenes with Kajol are laced with heightened drama. Very engaging stuff.
Arjun Rampal delivers an unbelievably restrained performance. This actor is going from strength to strength. He realises his limitations that he is not a star who can bring in people in the theaters entirely on his own esteem. But the manner in which he immerses in this character and brings in this realism of Experience in his portrayal is very impressive. The manner in which he juggles between the 'ladies in the house' is quite a treat to watch.
The three kids are Special. Anjali (Diya Sonecha) is adorably cute. She has some of the best lines in the film. D matlab 'Dayan' is quite a rage. Her innocence in several emotional scenes literally pierces daggers through your heart. Ankush (Nominath Ginsberg) is a find. He is cute, cuddly and funny. Aleya (Anchal Munjal) plays the confused and rebellious teenager to perfection.
Niranjan Iyengar's dialogues are simple and sincere. Several nuances of the complexities of relationships are brought out lucidly. Shankar Ehsan Loy's music is not their best music score. But Rehem-O-Karam comes in at strategic points in the film and has the desired effect. The version of Jail House Rock is made into a memorable watch primarily because of the super fun that Kajol and Kareena have while dancing to it. I loved Kajol's no-holds-barred dancing. A treat!
Mohanan's cinematography is classy. Deepa Bhatia's editing is crisp. But the second half stretches a bit and there seems to be continuity jerks at times. Raju Singh's background score adds a lot of emotion to the entire narrative. Siddharth Malhotra keeps you interested in his film throughout by knowing when to pull which string like an expert puppeteer. Yes, several scenes are conveniently filmy. But then, when you enter a cine hall, you are in for some drama and make belief. We Are Family makes for compelling viewing with your family. It is a film that will have a very good word-of-mouth.
We Are Family: A gulp-in-the-throat experience. Don't miss it!