Though Kareena Kapoor in We Are Family is Siddharth Malhotra's cousin, getting her into the film was not easy.
Says Siddharth, "Kareena's grandmother Mrs Krishna Raj Kapoor and my grandfather actor Premnath are siblings. So I've known her from my childhood. We've practically grown up together. When I went to Karan Johar with the idea of remaking Stepmom I told him that Kajol and Kareena were my first and last choices. Karan not only got me the remake rights he also got me the two actresses."
Directing Kajol and Kareena was a dream-come-true for Siddharth. "According to me, Kareena has surpassed Julia Roberts from the original. The two actresses are the best we have. And there was never an ego issue. Both actresses were super-professional. That is why it took two years to get remake rights and only 64 shifts to make my film. Kajol was a dream. She'd arrive on the dot at 9 am be on the sets for the first shot at 9.30 and we would pack up at 6 pm so that she could return to her baby. To me she was the ideal actress, wife and mother, and that's what she plays in my film."
Siddharth can't wait for Kajol to have her second baby so he can make another film with her. Says the besotted director, "Kajol is addictive. No one can work only once with her. She kept me on my toes. If you work with her you better do your homework, or she will grill you. Karan has taught me to know my characters on my finger tips."
Siddharth claims he knows no other life than films. "I watch 3-4 films a day even today in every language. I don't go out to socialize. No parties and no late nights. I couldn't have made a young with-it cool-and-hip film even if I wanted to. It had to be a film about family values. I have grown up in that atmosphere. And I assisted Sooraj Barjatya (on Vivah) and Karan Johar (on Kal Ho Na Ho)."
So how different is We Are Family from the original Stepmom?
Siddharth Malhotra ponders. "If you remember Sooraj-ji took the heart of Nadiya Ke Paar and made Hum Aapke Hain Koun. Likewise I've taken just 6-7 key elements of Stepmom and then written it on my own."
Next Siddharth returns to his first script, a family comedy. "I was actually going to make that first. Then I got stuck with the last twenty minutes. Now I've got it worked out."