C U SOON: A movie happened beyond limitations

Haseeb Kumbidi

Mahesh Narayanan the director of Take-off gives a thoroughly different visual experience with his realistic production design through C U Soon a full screen-based movie breaking all expectations and surpassing particularly limitations of the lockdown period when the writers, directors, artist, and technicians around the globe face extreme challenges.

This pursuit, however, can be said to have impressed the rest proving how to make a movie, out of the limitations of shooting with a high-resolution camera, editing software and YouTube available to anyone, very few people pay attention to how to modify their visual language for the new age. 

Even there already have been screen-based Hollywood movies like Searching exhibited in various film festivals around the world,  including Sundance and grossed over $ 75 million at the box office. Which is a thriller movie that tells the story relying on the aspects of technology. Its way of narration on-screen has opened up a whole new genre of world cinema.

Some screen-based thriller experiments in Malayalam

Manu PS, who directed Monrothuruthu, has released a short film Error on YouTube. Prepared in a thriller format, Error progresses through a video chat between two friends. The story ends with the tragedy that happened to one of them. This small thriller was shot by the characters while the director and other technicians are being in their homes with proper preparation.

How to make a full-length movie with a small sports action camera and limited editing, even if it’s not a lockdown movie?. Rahul Riji Nair, who directed the state award-winning film Ottamurivelicham is behind this film. Two children escape by stealing an action camera called GoPro, which is used as a shot of a movie. The ‘false look’ that begins as a game then moves on to social issues and ends up being a pain.

C U Soon: The thriller

Mahesh Narayanan, Fahad Fazil, and his team came up with the best OTT release of the Covid era when strict regulations were challenging the very existence of the artists. The confidence that this film can give to the Malayalam cinema is not small. 

Jimmy (Roshan Mathew), who works in a bank in Dubai, meets Anu (Darshana Rajendran) on the dating app Tinder. It’s clear from the first conversation that Jimmy is an outspoken man who is coming out of a love affair and looking for a new partner. Anu angrily asks Jimmy, who wants to video chat with him the next minute, “He’s all too fast”. Within a week of getting acquainted with Jimmy’s nature, Jimmy’s marriage proposal through video chat also raised concerns in the mind of his mother (Mala Parvati). 

Jimmy’s mother, who knows nature, asks her cousin Kevin (Fahad Fazil) to investigate Anu’s family background. Kevin is a techie working in the field of cybersecurity. Jimmy, who doesn’t know much about Anu, also asks Kevin to check her social media and call details to make sure there are no problems.  

Kevin is capable of hacking all of this easily but does not condone intrusion into the privacy of strangers. He reluctantly agrees to their demand but replies that Anu’s ‘record is clean’ without doing anything special.

The nature of characters

All the main characters in the film maintain their own personality. Kevin is a professional by nature who thinks he is not getting the respect he deserves. The screenplay is in front of us through the words of manager Sanjana, the levels of Kevin’s character that we can not understand visually and in Kevin’s words. Their quarrel is that even if they clash in harsh language at an office meeting, it does not affect their relationship, which extends beyond friendship. 

Anu feels like a mysterious character from the beginning. Anu’s covert video chat, background not clear in the video, reluctance to tell her family about love, all this adds to the mystery surrounding Anu, but she is deeply in love with him. The confirmation bias that has made new love in Jimmy’s mind only shows him what his mind wants to see. Different images flash about in our minds about the character that Anu reveals as a progressive. It is at the end of the film that Anu reveals who she really is and the depth of her closeness to Jimmy. 

In the case of Jimmy, the average Malayalee man has all the insecurities and misogyny of a woman with a good sense of humor in mind. Jimmy’s character is characterized by everything from exploring the prejudices of the girl he’s in love with to using the term Call Girl. The contradictions that Jimmy gives to his cousin’s friendship and the security that Anu gives his conversation are not insignificant. 

Technology and the myth of privacy

The unique social issue posed by C U Soon is that how much big myth is the privacy of the individual in these days. If many other Malayalam films have dealt with other issues that touch the story of the film before This image used for private messaging narration is about security holes in chats and messages that we consider private. 

Everything that Kevin talks about in technology, including the scene where he disputes the privacy of Aadhaar information with his company bosses, is very natural. As an American citizen, you can get an Aadhaar card immediately to sell your land, but a poor person will not get it even after a week. All the messages that a person transmits through a phone or laptop, including social media accounts, are hacking within a few minutes.

We have seen this in many movies and most recently in the web series Sacred Games, The Family Man, and Pathal Lock. If it was done by the police and intelligence agencies, then it is done by individuals for their personal needs. Sanjana Anu’s social media account has been hacked and data leaked on the phone because she is suspicious of Kevin’s connections. 

Virtual reality and relationships

Virtual reality has turned out to be an essential part of life these days. One of the questions we face in this day and age of social distance is how warm professional and personal relationships can be in the virtual world. In such a context, C U Soon becomes a direct reflection of today’s urban life. The dynamism maintained in the conversations and the speed with which the story contexts are adopted is all in line with today’s chatter speeds. No one has enough time. Kevin chats during an office presentation. Jimmy looks at girls’ profiles and video chats on Tinder while answering customer calls.

Acting in the style of a screen-based film is different from what the three main actors in this film have faced before. Fahad’s acting reveals the secret happiness of an actor who enjoys that challenge. Probably not the Roshan Mathew we saw in Mutton and Chapel. Darshana Rajendran, who has done only minor roles till now, welcomes another heroine with her performance in this film.

An equally important view is that the characters go through changes and innovate thoughts. Kevin describes Sanjana as a man who uses women for his own pleasure and is devastated by the plight of another exploited woman. The characters in the film are constantly on the move between moving on with their lives, maintaining relationships, and solving problems. Therefore, a screen-based movie is not just a marketing gimmick or a figment of the imagination for the film, but the story. 

Needless to say, this is not a preconceived notion of a lockdown experiment. This is because it is a film that tells the story in a format that suits the story without compromising anything. The film, which shows virtual life, ends with the hope that the real-life of the characters will be seen on the theater screen.

Haseeb is a student of Political Science at Calicut University.