C U Soon Movie Review: C this soon

Updated: 04 September, 2020 08:24 IST | Mayank Shekhar | Mumbai

C U Soon, in turn, is set entirely inside multiple screens, on laptops and phones, swiftly switching between Google Meet, and various other text and video-calling services.

A still from C U Soon
A still from C U Soon

C U Soon
On: Amazon Prime Video
Director: Mahesh Narayanan
Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Darshana Rajendran, Roshan Mathew

Amazon Prime Video has the 'X-ray' feature, that lights up, if you touch your hand-held device, while watching content on it. This is when you can see the cast-credits and other info about an ongoing scene.

I pressed that invisible screen, on occasion, while watching this picture on my phone — inevitably taking notes on another screen, and minor breaks in between — responding to messages on Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, WhatsApp, since it's a working day.

This film, in turn, is set entirely inside multiple screens, on laptops and phones, swiftly switching between Google Meet, and various other text and video-calling services. It starts out on the dating app Tinder. Which means it is about a relationship, that rapidly develops online, between a man (Roshan Mathew) and a woman (Darshana Rajendran).

The latter delivering the finest performance I've seen in a movie lately. The former starred as the male lead in Anurag Kashyap's last film Choked (on Netflix). But this isn't, typically speaking, a romance. The boy, knowing little about the girl, feels like he should just marry her. Because, why not?

The film is a suspense-thriller on what happens thereafter. I have intentionally got you interested with the log-line. The reason most film buffs have gravitated towards this film anyway is Fahadh Faasil — widely regarded as the most interesting Indian working actor at the moment.

His last release Trance (2020) was also an equally novel take on powerful televangelists. Reviewing which I tried to place Faasil in the pantheon of mainstream Hindi cinema — perhaps holding a place/stature somewhere between Aamir Khan and Ayushmann Khurrana, in terms of scripts he picks and backs. He's probably the current-day Mohanlal.

Watch the trailer of C U Soon here:

If you had movie-buff Mallu friends, growing up in the '90s, you could never hear the end of — you ain't seen nothin' yet, if you ain't seen Mohanlal of Malayalam cinema. Thanks to the immeasurable access that diverse libraries on OTT platforms allow us, yes, we can see Faasil's films, and concurrently partake in universal fondness for a national talent.

You watch Faasil all through C U Soon from an oddly top-angle image, taken from what's supposed to be his laptop camera. Which is always switched on to capture his every move, through mug-shots. This is partly because his character is always at work, and going through video-conferences. But mainly because it is the only way you can capture him in the movie.

That is the way the screenplay has been drafted to make sure not a single scene occurs between actors and a regular camera handled/placed before them. The story only motions through a series of shots, scenes and sequences, taking place on screens of various people's communication devices — as you get to the bottom of a mystery, after it has been neatly set up.

To search for its obvious inspiration, you needn't go further than Aneesh Chaganty's Searching (2018). But that's just the treatment, if you may. And this is, in that sense, a tough movie to write and direct — solidly attempted and pulled off by Mahesh Narayanan — wherein so much of the script rests on its structure alone.

Sure that's true for all writing. What's different is the claustrophobic environment this one operates on — with no space for time and scene transition, exposition. Don't want to bore you with cheap jargon. What I'm essentially suggesting is this is how documentaries, especially post social-media, can be. If you've seen Asif Kapadia's Amy (2015), you'll know what I mean.

The toughest part is to do it, without any scrolls, and explanatory voice-overs. As this film does, getting a bit gimmicky and over-stating its purpose only in its dying/final minutes (make that the last half-hour).

We're all leaving behind incredible amounts of digital data/footprints, in any case — enough to build a biopic from scratch. What this script also touches upon is how much of our lives can be easily accessed by private individuals, if they've got the chops and tricks to do it. Faasil's character plays a tech-geek, orchestrating the whole film in seemingly real-time!

Not that we needed further proof than the ongoing Sushant Singh Rajput death case, playing out through a series of WhatsApp chats alone. That's been the drama we've been hooked to, locked up at homes in the times of COVID-19 — essentially switching from one screen to the other, starting from Zoom chat for work, to television or tablet in bed before sleep, and the cellphone all through in between.

You'll therefore appreciate the setting of C U Soon, like never before — diving deeper and deeper still into screens within your screen, making this is an Inception of sorts. See this soon, or whenever you've had some digital detox. God knows we all should. Writing this having just shifted from my phone to the laptop, and going back to the phone again. Catch you soon. Have to find myself first.

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First Published: 04 September, 2020 07:04 IST

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