Movies

‘Sonali Cable’... Stuck in time

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Sonali Cable must have been an idea in the mind of its writer-director, Charudutt Acharya, for a long time. Finally, he gets to realize it. Why is it an old thought? Because, cable turf wars are a story of the late 20th century. Providing cable connections was a totally money-and-muscle-wielding business when it started. There was nothing legal about it because there was no control. It just flourished.



Cable was a way to watch various TV channels and infringing on other cable operators’ turf was the norm. It led to gang wars, murders and all such things that happen in other turf wars; after all, it was all about taking over a territory. But, Sonali Cable talks of a later stage. The stage when cable service was not limited to TV channels but also started providing internet connectivity.



The story of Sonali Cable is a two-way fight between a multinational powerful company, Shining, owned by Anupam Kher, who wants to control all of Mumbai’s net connectivity which, according to him, will make whole of Mumbai vulnerable to him!! (There have been weirder ideas!) He has bought over all small time operators catering to few thousand connections and Mumbai is all his except for this one small time network provider, Sonali  (Rhea Chakraborty); her 3,000 connections stop him from controlling the entire city. For the convenience of the script, the national service provider, MTNL, is done away with, and so are other poor contenders owned by private companies. It is all about Kher, who walks in like East India Company, and takes over the net connectivity in the business capital of India.



Then there are the emotional angles. Kher’s mother brought him up supplying khakhras in some Saurashtra village. Today, he swears by a khakhra but has no scruples otherwise. The film waits a long while for Sonali to get her own back. Which, by the way, totally ruins the latter half of the film. The shortcomings and liberties notwithstanding, the film loses the plot post-interval.



Kher takes over Mumbai: just about every product is his, and just about every politician is owned by him. But this is the computer era as well as spy camera era. So, like all recent films where the villain ends up blabbering in front of a hidden camera, Kher complies too!



The problem with this film is that the makers, and especially the writer, take the audience for granted. Can anybody monopolise Mumbai? Especially its net connectivity? While some ideas are good, some are farfetched. Also, the film has a Mumbai-Marathi flavour and a generous use of local slang words, which will not be understood by everyone. The film has some good songs. Direction shows promise given a better script (which is also by the director here).



The story revolves around Rhea, a slum bred independent girl running her cable network with an opportunist politician, Smita Jaykar, whose son, Ali Fazal, is Rhea’s childhood love. Rhea does well except when using Marathi slang. Ali Fazal is getting better with each film. Raghav Juyal is a natural. Anupam Kher does one of his quirky characters with élan. Jaykar does well.



Sonali Cable is out of tune with time and, otherwise too, goes haywire in the second half. Faces poor prospects.



Producers: Ramesh Sippy, Rohan Sippy.



Director: Charudutt Acharya.

Cast: Rhea Chakraborty, Ali Fazal, Raghav Juyal, Anupam Kher, Smita Jaykar, Swanand Kirkire.

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