Rating: 2 stars
Though Sonali Cable may come across as a concept-driven little movie targeting at a niche audience, the fact is that it comes from the trusted Ramesh Sippy stable along with Bombay Mania and Rohan Sippy. The opening credits of the film showcasing glimpses of Ramesh Sippy’s iconic films like Sholay, Seeta Aur Geeta and Shaan only add to expectations.
Inspired by the true story of a girl named Sonali who ran an internet cafe in her neighbourhood, director Charudutt Acharya modeled his film’s protagonist on her. Essentially an underdog story, Sonali Cable traces the life of Sonali Dattaram Tandel (Rhea Chakraborty) who runs a small cyber cafe with the help of a small team. She’s forced to take on the corporate giant Shining Inc, run by Vaghela (Anupam Kher) who expands his business invading her territory.
Refusing to budge, Sonali challenges Vaghela. Sonali’s childhood friend – the US-return Raghu (Ali Fazal) – helps her set up her small enterprise. Instead of supporting Raghu, his politician mother Aai (Smita Jayekar) puts her weight behind Vaghela for political gain. Sonali Cable is not about the game of one-upmanship but simply states the fact that every individual has the right to do his own business and nothing can stop him from doing so.
In the time of several satellite service providers, the survival for individual cable operators is far from easy. The film primarily highlights this issue and the narrative to an extent justifies the grievance of an individual cable operator in the first half. But surprisingly, when you expect things move faster in the second half and expect Sonali to play her cards right to bring Vaghela’s empire down, you get hugely disappointed with her ways of fighting against the injustice. With the help of her hacker friend, Sonali enters Vaghela’s employee’s house and secretly downloads his MMS, proving that he has cheated and conned his boss. In the same MMS, Vaghela is shown to how planned the death of one of Sonali’s employees. Sonali exposes Vaghela.
The film incorporates themes about the growing nexus between corporations and politicians, and the increasing helplessness of the ordinary citizen in the face of greedy corporate rivalries. In a nutshell, Sonali Cable is a ‘David versus Goliath’ story, in the thick of the cable internet turf war in Mumbai. The film wants to establish the growing corporate crushing small businesses without any scope for co-existence. Sonali Cable, in that sense, is an eye-opener but unfortunately the treatment leaves a lot to be desired. The script had the potential to become an entertaining, thought-provoking proposition but it results in a dull affair.
After working as a dialogue writer with Rohan Sippy on films like Nautanki Saala and Dum Maaro Dum, the Sippy’s entrusted the responsibility to the FTII graduate Charudutt to helm Sonali Cable. The war between Sonali and Vaghela isn’t interesting enough to hold up people’s attention for too long. Thus, the film falters at several occasions.
Talking about performances, Rhea as Sonali has done a decent job and she has a striking resemblance to Genelia D’ Souza while Anupam Kher, for a change, is irritating in some scenes (considering his unimpressive bald look). Ali Fazal as a helpless boyfriend provides able support to Sonali but doesn’t have much to do.
After all the katteys and tamancheys, Bollywood unleashes another prop – ‘cable’ – in this week’s release. Are you ready to get wired?