Charudutt Acharya’s Sonali Cable is single-mindedly focused on the problems it wants to highlight: corruption in our system and encroachment of big, rich players in the local market. Unfortunately, the script, selected for the Mumbai Mantra-Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab 2012, fails horribly by the time it reaches the execution table.
In short, the film is about Sonali (Rhea), a Mumbai girl who runs an internet cafe struggling to stay afloat with the entry of business tycoon Waghela (Anupam) and his greed to monopolise markets all over the country. Yes, you would have guessed it by now: Sonali Cable is all about her fight for the locals, with the help of her small group of three boys, local customers and childhood love Raghav (Ali). It helps that he is the son of a local politician. And yes, this one too touches upon the “unholy nexus between politicians and businessmen in our country.” Interested in the film now? Don’t be.
While Anupam, Rhea and Ali are convincing for most parts of their roles, everybody else in the film seems to be sleep-walking through their roles. A few romantic scenes between Rhea and Ali only add to the drag and soon you are left wondering if you deserved this onslaught on your senses.
Perhaps the only saving grace are the funny, contemporary references that make staying awake a tad easier. The scriptwriters, for instance, stuck their necks out and didn’t chicken out of referring to the giant business conglomerate as “a company that eats up into local business”. A vegetable seller is shown cribbing about ‘chinese corriander’ being sold in AC shops at cheaper rates. The film goes on to make many such references which highlight the dubious modus-operandi of big business houses.
It is labourious to sit through the 127 minute-long film, and soon you are left wondering if director-writer Acharya bit off far more than what he could chew with this one. After watching the film, one gets the feeling that he put way too many issues on his plate, and when it came to arranging his full plate, he couldn’t handle the task. Simply put, he fails miserably in establishing his credibility as someone who is serious about handling the issues.
Ditto for the emotions, the obvious by-product of any big versus small player fight: Acharya, it seems, just forgot the cardinal rule that one needs to build the tempo if you want those vulnerabilities to resonate with the audience.