Watching C U Soon reminded me of Winston Churchill’s famous speech, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.” The wartime leader’s battle cry represents the robust and vibrant spirit of the present-day Malayalam filmmakers who can’t be prevented from making excellent movies, even during a pandemic that has brought the world to its knees.
Malayalam filmmakers shall make movies under the lockdown, they shall make movies with a mobile phone camera, and they never shall cease to push the boundaries of filmmaking and reinvent themselves as storytellers.
Director-editor Mahesh Narayanan’s second directorial, C U Soon, was conceived, shot, edited and released during the lockdown. It is a good example of the independent nature of the new wave of filmmakers and actors in Malayalam cinema. They only crave to tell a good story regardless of how it will be shot or where it will be shown. And in the process, they end up changing the rules of cinema.
C U Soon is a computer screen-based movie. The movie captures how the majority of us today perceive the world around us: through pixels, files and images, and how in a connected world, privacy is an illusion.
Fahadh Faasil’s Kevin Thomas is asked by his aunt, played by Mala Parvathi, to invade the privacy of his cousin Jimmy’s (Roshan Mathew) new girlfriend Anu Sebastian (Darshana Rajendran). When he kind of refuses, his aunt mentions 2016’s US election hack. “What’s privacy?” she asks. In other words, she says that breaching someone’s privacy is no big deal.
Jimmy meets Anu through a dating website. He matches with her immediately after he swipes right on her profile. And so it begins. The online courtship of Jimmy and Anu. There is a flood of information exchange between the couple. And one of them is lying through their mobile screens.
Through his writing and editing, Mahesh speaks to our imagination and life experiences. We may all know a Jimmy or a Kevin. You can understand why Jimmy has been hopping from one relationship to another without a break. He is away from home and he’s lonely, and that makes him reckless to the extent of proposing to a girl that he just met in a chat room. Or why Kevin is so grumpy and rude to his colleagues. He is so overworked that he has run out of hoots to give. But, our guesses about Anu are proved wrong, because Mahesh wants it that way. And that’s a hallmark of a good storyteller.
C U Soon is a unique experience. It is more lifelike as it mirrors our way of life in some great detail. And the format directly taps into our urge to get a glimpse of very personal chats of other people hoping to find some juicy and even scandalous stories without understanding the context.
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