C U SOON. (2020)

Fahadh Faasil, Roshan Mathew, and Darshana Rajendran in a still from C U SOON.
  • Release date: 01/09/2020
  • Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Roshan Mathew, Darshana Rajendran
  • Director: Mahesh Narayanan

An organic blend of technology and creativity that puts forth a harrowing tale of oppression, injustice, and pain

Jimmy Kurien (Roshan Mathew) has just crawled out of a toxic relationship and is trying his luck on “tinder” when he hits a perfect match with Anumol Sebastian (Darshana Rajendran). The couple soon hits all the right notes and Jimmy realizes that he is falling in love with Anumol. After about a week of online courting, Jimmy proposes marriage to Anumol in the presence of his family over a group video call. Anumol is speechless and touched and apparently loves the idea of marriage with Jimmy. Jimmy’s mother wants to be sure that his son’s to-be bride isn’t involved in anything sinister and asks for the help of Kevin Thomas (Fahadh Faasil), Jimmy’s cousin, and an expert in cybersecurity to dig into her details. After a quick search, Kevin clears Anumol, and the couple look set for blissful matrimony. It is at this juncture that something terrible happens that shakes the world of Jimmy and Anumol to the core.

“c u soon.” was slated to be an experimental film by Mahesh Narayanan and was not to be more than 60-65 minutes long. Fahadh Faasil was always part of the project and the film was supposed to be shot on an iPhone. The film was declared in June 2020 and was subsequently shot in Fahadh Faasil’s flat. Despite receiving some flak from the Kerala Film Producers Association (KFPA) over the Covid-19 pandemic situation and safety of the people involved with the project, the film was completed on 21st August and released on prime Videos on 1st September. It is in many ways proof of how creative minds can easily turn a calamity into an opportunity.

“c u soon.” unfolds completely on the computer/mobile screens and its treatment is very similar to another exceptionally well executed and engrossing thriller, Searching (Aneesh Chaganty, 2018). The only liberty that the film takes in terms of its layout and execution is in the use of zooms to certain portions and characters. Real applications are used, real websites are referenced and the way the story unfolds is rooted in realism and loaded with references and stuff that we come across on a day to day basis when we are accessing IT devices and applications. The film mostly banks on Apple products hence, it will appeal a tad bit more to apple users aesthetically, but the rest of the viewers will be just as satisfied. The film takes the digital lives of its characters and put them on the screen for us to see and understand the story that it sets out to tell.

Fahadh Faasil in a still from C U SOON.

The film tells a story that is not only thrilling but has a genuine resonance with a gruesome evil that is plaguing our society today and is very relevant to the times that we are living in. I believe that it is inspired by true incidents that were in news recently. I will not put out a single word more about the plot as it will only spoil the viewer’s experience of watching and enjoying the twists and turns firsthand. However, I will go to the extent of saying that once the plot points are established and we understand the inspirations of the different characters for doing what they are shown doing, the film becomes even more engrossing, harrowing, and affecting for the viewers. The story is filled with twists and turns and the screenplay, makes us think and question the actions of the various characters and effectively takes us in different directions only for the story to go in a very different direction later. The participatory approach that Mahesh Narayanan takes to unraveling the story only makes it that much more engrossing for the viewer as we are privy to the same information that the characters are at any given instance and if we are smart enough, we can unravel the secret in real-time with the characters.

It might be a shock to many, but this is my first Fahadh Faasil film. Faasil has been making waves in Malayalam cinema over the last few years and after watching this film, I understand why. He is terrific in the film. I just couldn’t take my eyes off him. There are two facets to his character. His equation with his boss who he apparently sleeps with but is mistreating horribly and his efforts to aid Jimmy regarding the problem that he is facing with Anumol. There is a stark difference in the expressions from Faasil when he is toggling between these two portions. As the story progresses and the stakes are raised, we can see him lose his cool for the first time. When the final truth dawns on him, we see him get emotional for the first time in the film. Every facet of the character is wonderfully brought out by Faasil who elevates the film to a whole new level with his inspiring act.

Roshan Mathew as Jimmy is pitch-perfect. One look at him and I believed that he could be that guy who would fall for a girl on tinder and agree to marry her within a week of their knowing each other. Mathew is able to bring a feel of innocence and then, in the latter half, a sense of disillusionment at how his relationship with Anumol turned out. These aspects of his character are bound to appeal to one and all. I loved how his character comes a full circle by the end and the film leaves us with a sweet taste in the mouth after all the horrors that we are made privy to.

Roshan Mathew in a still from C U SOON.

Darshana Rajendran as Anumol is wonderful. She toggles effortlessly between being someone who is gradually falling in love with a caring and sweet boy whom she hardly knows and someone who has been bruised by life and the horror that it brings with it. In both the avatars, she makes an astounding impact. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the film derives its heart from Rajendran’s performance, and it is her performance that lingers with you long after the film has ended. I can’t help but mention that she effortlessly disappears behind the skin of the character of Anumol and her earthen looks help her immensely to achieve that.

When I was watching Searching in 2018, I quipped to my friend sitting next to me that Bollywood could never make films like these. He replied, “they will never try”. After watching “c u soon.”, I can safely say that at least, the Malayalam film industry is not afraid to take risks and try different things. The fact that the film turned out so good would unquestionably be a hugely uplifting thrust for budding filmmakers to try out different formats and experiment with odd ideas to tell a story. “c u soon.” will most definitely set a benchmark for minimalistic film making in India and would inspire countless dreamy filmmakers with a head full of ideas but with limited access to gear and technology. An engrossing story, terrific performances, a beating heart of a script, and an innovative yet accessible format makes “c u soon.” one of the most noteworthy and watchable films of the year so far. It is a must-watch for all those who are interested in the finer art of film making and how its marriage with everyday technology can sometimes result in an interesting product.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)

 

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