Private Project

The Rally Within

A high-speed crash in the forbidding deserts of the Dakar Rally, the world’s most challenging motorsports event, leaves Indian racing icon CS Santosh on the brink of death. Placed in a medically induced coma and airlifted to India, Santosh’s gruelling recovery begins. His setbacks are immense: significant brain trauma, debilitating injuries and deep memory loss. Doctors can’t tell if he’ll be able to function independently ever again, let alone attempt a return to the sport he loves.

But Santosh’s goal is clear: make it back on the motorcycle, and to the Dakar Rally.

Featuring unfettered access and exclusive interviews with his family, peers, and legends of the sport, ‘The Rally Within’ captures Santosh’s high-stakes journey across the Middle East, India and Europe as he fights his way back to who he was. Through a telling that is intimate and raw, we see an elite athlete rediscover himself as he grinds his way back to the motorcycle while confronting the frightening possibility that he may never race again.

  • Niyantha Shekar
    2019 - Raqs-e-Inquilab, short documentary
  • Nitantha Shekar
  • Achal Manglik
  • Sagarika Kochrekar
  • Vriti Patil
  • Chunchunguppe Shivashankar Santosh
    Key Cast
    "CS Santosh (playing himself)"
  • Udit Nijhawan
  • Meghana Basavaraju
  • Rajdeep Mitra
  • Madhura Keskar
    Post Producer
  • Sahil Amin
  • Sahil Bhagat
    Sound Designer
  • Postboy
  • Frizzon Productions
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Biographical Sports Drama, Sports Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 27 minutes 19 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 18, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    India, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland
  • Language:
    English, Hindi, Italian, Kannada
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9, 9:16
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Niyantha Shekar

Niyantha Shekar is an award-winning filmmaker based in Mumbai who has directed documentaries, ads and branded content for clients like Netflix India, Discovery, Red Bull, VICE, OnePlus, Google, Diageo, Vogue, Disney, Spotify India and more. His work has won a Webby, Kyoorius 'Blue Elephant' and CCSSA 'Best Unscripted Series' award and has been featured by Tribeca, National Geographic, MUBI, The Atlantic, The Telly Awards & Digiday.

He is passionate about narrative non-fiction and has written and directed 'Dangals of Crime', a docuseries for Discovery & VICE on the dark side of Indian wrestling. He's also written and directed two award-winning docuseries for Red Bull – 'The Mind Behind' and 'This is My Hood' – and was the Content Director for 'Red Bull Spotlight', a multi-episode hip-hop show for MXPlayer. During the 2020 lockdown, he wrote and remotely directed 'Behind the Mask', a five-episode Discovery Plus doc-series for Vogue, GQ & Myntra featuring India's top fashion designers.

He has a strong content & product background, having previously led efforts at Virtual Bharat, Microsoft, and Nazar Magazine, and has written for publications like ESPNcricinfo and The Hindu.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

‘The Rally Within’ is as much a story of a racing icon’s journey back to the motorcycle as it is about his battle with identity. “Who am I if I can’t ride?” is the question that keeps pushing and plaguing CS Santosh in equal measure as he strives to find his place back in the sport. It’s a question we can all relate to: who are we if the one thing that we’ve put our life into, the one thing that defines who we are, is cruelly taken away from us one day. How do we rebuild ourselves from scratch and reclaim our identity? Santosh lost a lot after his horrific crash at the Dakar Rally, including parts of his memory, but he never lost the passion that set him on this path in the first place. That’s what’s inspiring to me, and, I hope, will be for all viewers. His story is proof that when passion burns bright, the human spirit cannot be contained. That it’s possible to dig deep and find ourselves again, when we rally within.