3 Stars. Chalte Chalte (Walking Together). With Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherji, Jas Arora, Satish Shah, Lilette Dubay, Johnny Lever.
As the film came to its predictable end, someone in the audience said, “Well it’s an Indian movie after all”. That about sums up Chalte Chalte (Walking Together). It’s a typical Bollywood fairytale romance with a measure of realism that offers an entertaining 3 hours at the cinema.
Director Aziz Mirza has carefully balanced his film into two parts initially focusing on the pre-marital relationship of Raj (Shahrukh Khan) and Priya (Rani Mukherji). She is a successful fashion designer and he owns a small transport company. It is obvious from the outset that they come from two different worlds. But despite this Raj woos and wins over the affections of Priya. This part of the film offers much song, dance and romance. Khan and Mukherji share a great on screen chemistry and this aids the film immeasurably. There is nothing new on offer from a story point of view, but the actors are obviously having a great deal of fun in some exotic locations which offer great entertainment value.
The film shifts gear in the second half, which focuses on the trials and tribulations of marriage. Here the actors talents are called into play and Mukherji definitely has the edge over Khan. She offers a very restrained performance while he tends to go over the top at times. It is quite evident from his track record that Khan excels in the romantic and humorous scenes and this film is no exception. The supporting cast are all adequate and actually contribute greatly to the development of the storyline. Quite often in Indian films there are too many superfluous characters in subplots that deter from the enjoyment of the film. Here there is none of that and even the obligatory comedian (Johnny Lever) serves as an inspiration for our hero to pursue his love.
Shot on location in Mahableshwar, Athens and Mykonos, the film is breathtakingly filmed by ace cinematographer Ashok Mehta (Bandit Queen, Dil Ka Rishta). The music by Jatin-Lalit and Aadesh Srivastava is melodious and another asset of the film.
Chalte Chalte won’t be winning any awards, the storyline is not new and there should have been a bit more character development. However, aided by a talented cast and first rate technical team, Mirza has worked within the script limitations and crafted an enjoyable tale with a lesson to be learnt for all of us.