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‘It took us over a year to decide on We Are Family’

Karan Johar speaks on the title troubles he faced for his Stepmom remake.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2010 18:50 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times

Kajol KareenaThe campaign for Dharma Productions’ We Are Family kicked off yesterday. The Kajol-Kareena Kapoor starrer is a desi remake of the Susan Sarandon-Julia Roberts starrer, Stepmom. Producer Karan Johar admits that it took them over a year to fix on the title.

“It was one of the toughest titles to pin down,” he reminisces. “We oscillated between hundreds of titles, including Thank You Ma. The Hindi ones sounded too archaic and the English ones were alienating.”

Johar reached out to friends and strangers for help, tapping research teams and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Suggestions poured in and the confusion mounted. “Finally, one day, I locked myself in a room with Sid (director Siddharth Malhotra) and told him we weren’t leaving till we had decided on a name,” laughs Johar. “And epiphany struck in five minutes. Sid instantly came up with We Are Family, telling me it was the perfect choice. ”

Once the title was decided, Rahul Nanda hopped on board and wove a campaign around it through a sequence of scenes that would justify the three simple English words. You wonder if it isn’t too anglicised and targets the multiplex audience and Johar argues that family is a commonly used word across the country. He adds, “There is a positive ring to the title that the film required.”

Sensitive Adaptation
We Are Family is an official remake of a Hollywood film, even though Johar is quick to point out that it is not a frame-by-frame lift but a sensitive adapation of Stepmom. “I know filmmakers in the past had rarely taken the legal route when it comes to adaptations but we were very clear that we would never do anything underhand. Hey, I even bought the rights to ‘Pretty woman…’ that I used in Kal Ho Naa Ho.”

He adds that his CEO, Apoorva Mehta, went through sleepless nights as he tried to negotiate a deal with Sony Pictures for the remake rights. “It’s not something I would recommend, too much bother,” admits Johar. “But those who came out with copies earlier were lucky. In today’s global market it wouldn’t be advisable to not do anything illegal. At least now we won’t have sleepless nights.”