Chale Chalo is a documentary that takes a look at the making of the one film that has placed Indian cinema on a global stage in this century; Lagaan. It tries to capture the ups and downs of a film that involved shooting at hard to get places, Bhuj, and consisted of an international cast along with a supporting cast that went into thousands.
While the documentary is a great insight into everything that goes on behind the scenes, it lacks a certain depth and presents only the big picture where as it would have been an excellent opportunity to dig deeper into the process. It is because of this that the entire film seems like an afterthought, an add-on that was done to maybe capitalize on the popularity of the film or an extra for the DVD that was released separately.
One of the positive aspects of Chale Chalo is that is refrains from just focusing on the main cast and also gives importance to the smaller factors that are essential and equally responsible for the success of any film. And, while as audience we are always intrigued by the numbers a film makes, here we get to experience first-hand how difficult and economically damaging film-making is as the producers and financiers struggle with ever increasing production costs.
Unfortunately, as stated earlier, the narrator and the voice over throughout the film is very subdued, which once again makes it feel that the film was not conceived at the beginning and just happened at a much later stage.
Although the subtitle of the films states Chale Chalo to be “the lunacy of film-making”, and it is a great film to watch especially for anyone wanting to be part of the business, it lacks a certain heart that say a documentary like Supermen of Malegaon, also about film-making, oozes. If you really want to see “lunacy” then Supermen of Malegaon is a much safer bet.