C U Soon to be cast: Fahadh Faasil, Roshan Mathew, Darshana Rajendran, Amalda Liz, Saiju Kurup, Maala Parvathi and Kottayam Ramesh
C U Soon Director: Mahesh Narayanan
C U Soon Movie Rating: Three and a Half Stars
Recently, there has been a spate of web series and short films worldwide with socially distant actors and technicians working remotely to create work that proves that human creativity can never be blocked. The quantity of such work has increased exponentially, but the quality has been variable. With the novelty factor declining, we are now becoming demanding viewers: we can also make home videos with our phone cameras. So what do you have in particular?
It’s almost as if the folks behind C U Soon are aware of this slight but noticeable impatience that creeps up on us, especially when we’re surrounded by streaming platforms and their endless offerings. Producers Fahad Faasil and Nazriya Nazim as well as director Mahesh Narayanan take a story with disturbingly familiar outlines and give it a new urgency and impact, so that every frame of the running time of 1 hour 38 minutes counts.
So many young women in need in Kerala are being tricked by crafty agents with golf jobs that sound kosher but are in fact traps for the meat trade. Just a few weeks ago, Khuda Haafiz came out, a Bollywood film with the same premise, but as it traversed the melodrama route with lots of action, CU Soon never let the entangled young woman and the young man who did it out of sight is attracted to her. The plot cleverly doesn’t reveal all of the cards in advance, and when Jimmy Kurian (Mathew), who is absolutely delighted with the pretty but troubled Anu Mol (Rajendran), discovers that she may have more than meets the eye, and holds out a hand out to his cousin Kevin Thomas (Faasil) for help, we are thrilled: what will happen next?
The constant use of technology is shown to its fullest in the film, reminding us of how much our lives are parked in the digital realm. Since we all have smartphones and social media accounts, we are vulnerable to people wanting to stalk us: there really is nowhere to hide. Jimmy, Kevin and his grumpy colleague Sanjana (Liz) spend all of their time cracking computer keys or tapping their phones. Talking is so last century. Now we write. And when we come across someone who has a phone without a SIM card, there is clearly something suspicious going on.
The only thing that worries most of these movies with camera phones is the lack of depth. C U Soon makes up for that by slowing things down, limiting ourselves to expressions, and allowing us to watch what is going on. The action mostly takes place in Dubai (with a few arrows going to the US and Kerala) and the way it unfolds, with the characters uncovering dirty secrets behind smiling faces, is all very real and moving. One scene is particularly heartbreaking and visibly allows Jimmy and Kevin to learn a few important life lessons – being too gullible is as much a problem as automatically thinking someone’s worst, but it’s never too late to do that either to make amends. Faasil’s face is a map, and we can see how he takes in the painful reality of the character he “examines” and how it affects him. Mathew also jumps over his initial uncomfortable comment on “call girls” and we get a better version of the moronic, reckless Jimmy we started with. It’s a bit hard to swallow this rapid change of heart, but that’s fine: sometimes a moment can be enough. And it’s okay too because we’re looking for those character. Fahadh Faasil: I’m here because I have nowhere else to go
That brings me to the excitement that this movie brings with it. Everything Faasil does (Maheshinte Prathikaram, Super Deluxe, Kumbalangi Nights) brings joy: Here, too, he gives us a complex character – not really sympathetic, cutting, borderline misogynistic – and then lets us see how the circumstances can ease a little this change is a possibility. Mathew is good too, as is Rajendran and the supporting cast. In its short duration, C U Soon also manages to sharply comment on how innocent women are lured into the meat trade and how their families are often unable to help.
The film ends up optimistically and tells us on behalf of these “virtual” characters that they will see us in theaters soon.