Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy We Are Family Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

A weak set of forgettable songs from a trio clearly capable of so much more.

Jaspreet Pandohar 2010

When Sister Sledge topped the charts in 1979 with We Are Family, the American group probably couldn’t have predicted their hit disco anthem would inspire a Bollywood film decades later. But the song’s title proved too tempting for Indian producer/director Karan Johar, whose latest home production is named after it.

There’s nothing Johar likes more than family. When he’s not stressing the importance of the family unit in his PG-rated films, he’s making sure the music that accompanies his cinematic releases is littered with familial references. Think of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kal Ho Na Ho (KHNH) and Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna (KANK) and you get an idea of the heartrending, family friendly numbers he likes to showcase.

So it comes as some surprise that he should settle for the set of weak, forgettable songs offered up by his favourite maestros Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendosa. Lacking the vibrancy or emotional punch that movie and music lovers have come to expect from a Johar film, the soundtrack to We Are Family is a huge let down.

Aankhon Mein Neendein opens, featuring Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal. It’s a gentle love ballad, charming but largely unmemorable. The same applies to Reham O Karam, which features a subtle melody initially but turns into an unbearably loud rock number in which electric guitars and drums overpower the vocal performances of Vishal Dadlani and Mahadevan.

Despite breaking the decibel barrier, Reham O Karam is somewhat tolerable compared to the excruciating Dil Khol Ke Let’s Rock. A cheesy revamp of Jail House Rock, this badly executed desi rock’n’roll number would have the King spinning in his grave. Singers Anushka Manchanda, Akriti Kakkar and Suraj Jagan can do nothing to salvage the cheap karaoke-style lyrics penned by Anvita Dutt Guptan.

The dependable Sonu Nigam does his best on Hamesha & Forever, a situational number that probably only exists to be picturised on a weepy screen moment between mum, dad and kids. The same goes for the main theme tune and Sun le Dua Yeh Aasman, a sickly sweet rendition by Bela Shende in the guise of a teenage girl.

Including four bonus tracks from My Name Is Khan, Wake Up Sid, KANK and KHNH might be a generous gesture on Johar’s behalf, but it backfires. It serves only to remind us of how much better than this Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy can be.

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