C U Soon: Movie review

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How do you expect a movie to be made when a deadly pandemic has made shootings an impossibility? Well, Mahesh Narayanan’s C U Soon, a Malayalam-language movie that can be categorized under the genre of an innovative romantic mystery thriller, is the answer to this question. The movie brilliantly captures the contemporary reality of lockdown and social distancing, a reality that has forced us within the confines of our four walls, limiting our social life through smartphone screens and computers.

It is the second Malayalam movie to be released on an OTT platform and has been premiered globally on Amazon Prime Video from September 1 2020.

The film is written, directed and edited by Mahesh Narayanan, whose debut feature film was Take Off in 2017. Produced by actor-couple Nazriya Nazim and Fahadh Fasil, the movie has an ensemble cast of Roshan Mathew as Jimmy, Darsana Rajendran as Anu Sebastian, and Fahadh Fasil as Jimmy’s cousin Kevin. Maala Parvathy plays the role of Jimmy’s mother Mery Kurian and Saiju Kurupp as Jimmy’s friend who is a doctor.

Well, the protagonist Jimmy is 31-year-old bachelor, working in a bank in the UAE. The film opens with the life-changing incident in Jimmy’s life in which he meets Anu Sebastian as his match in a dating app, which is shown to the viewers through Jimmy’s mobile screen. Both then go through an ice-breaking session, steered by the protagonist who is curious about the heroine, who, however, hides her identity. Soon, they get closer as they progress chatting from the dating app to Google Talk and then to Google Duo video calls. Sudden twist of events unfolds through the course of the movie as other characters appear through their mobile and laptop screens. The film soon reaches a point of mysterious curiosity, prompting the audience to unravel the identity and whereabouts of Anu Sebastian. Finally, through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps and Facebook Messenger, Kevin the hacker unravels the mystery enveloping Anu Sebastian. Though the film is set in the UAE, the director has not even set his foot in the Gulf country to shoot this movie.

The film was written, shot and edited within a span of a year.

At a time when the whole film industry is burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic with any film shooting being rendered impossible, Mahesh Narayanan’s is a bold attempt: making a whole film cinematographed in an innovative way through mobile screens. Though there have been very few attempts of film-making and narration using mobile phone screens, laptops, and CCTVs in Hollywood, Mahesh Narayanan’s C U Soon will make an indelible mark in the annals of the Indian film industry.

Everyone is eagerly waiting to see each other in these days of social distancing. The title of the film itself is a symbol of hope and waiting. The film also has various symbols and images revolving around profound issues like sex racketing, the lack of genuineness in dating apps and the dangers that lurk behind them. When the film ends with Anu asking her mother kaanan ennepolille? (Doesn’t she resemble me?), the parallelism between the girl who is sexually abused and the daughter of her abuser is brought to the forefront, raising various questions in our minds.

In short, though C U Soon was shot under severe COVID-19 restrictions, the film has emerged as a successful thriller with innovative narrative strategies and flawless acting skills of the actors appear themselves through chats and video calls. The film has set a new technique in film-making by means of low-cost production methods and without compromising on social distancing norms and safety of the crew members.