C U Soon
Cast: Fahad Faasil, Roshan Mathew, Darshana Rajendran
Director: Mahesh Narayanan
Young women being lured into prostitution is not something we haven’t seen before on the screen. Especially when they are picked from poorer countries like India and sent to generally the Middle East. Their mobile phones and passports are taken away, and the shocked women – who had been promised jobs abroad as maids in rich households – are mentally and physically abused into submission.
There have been several films on this. Even a few weeks ago, Khuda Haafiz, tackled the same subject of how a newly-married woman is sent to the Gulf on a professional assignment (with the promise that her husband would soon be able to join her), that ends up in her being forced to serve as a call girl.
C U Soon is about Kevin Thomas (Fahad Faasil), who is a cyber specialist living in the United Arab Emirates. When his cousin, Jimmy Kurian (Roshan Mathew), also living in the UAE, falls in love with Anu (Darshana Rajendran) – having met her on the web – he feels he ought to know more about her. So, he asks Kevin for help, who gives a clean chit about the girl, who is in the UAE as well.
Everything seems hunky-dory. Anu even moves in with Jimmy – although it is illegal for a man and woman to stay together in that part of the world without being married. But when Jimmy notices bruises on Anu’s face, he presumes that it must have been her father ill-treating his daughter.
It is at this point the film takes on the form of a thriller. While Khuda Haafiz packed in a lot of action, C U Soon remains within the four walls of a house or sometimes Kevin’s or Jimmy’s office. Kevin uses his cyber-security skills to decipher the CCTV footage of Jimmy’s flat. There is a lot of prying and spying, and the messages between Kevin and Jimmy on their computer or mobile phone screens are placed in a way that they do impede the narrative. In fact, much of the plot unfolds through phone/computer messages.
Mahesh Narayanan’s latest Malayalam work, C U Soon, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video, beats the same theme but is interestingly made and exciting to watch. An excellent script and innovative editing lift this love story of despair and hope without getting into the usual melodramatic mode.
Though shot during the lockdown with virtual mediums, the movie has its constraints. Obviously, there can only be a single character on the screen at a time, and I wonder why the director did not use, for instance, Zoom.
Another problem, Narayanan himself pointed out in a conversation with Scroll, “… cutting from continuously filmed action to any other shot, or using lengthy montages to denote the passage of time, could not be employed as they are in traditional movies…There I apply virtual cinematography. It is where I have edited the film, and then tweaked with the footage, amplify a section, pan across the screen, zoom in or zoom out to add tension and drama to the movie”.
However, the result is truly wonderful and there is never a dull moment. In those 90 minutes, C U Soon takes to unfold its storyline in an amazingly innovative way. Certainly, Narayanan’s skills as a storyteller are impressive, and he turns a weather-beaten incident into a riveting watch. In the end, what stands out is not so much that Anu is brutally treated, as it is her love story – one of anger, anguish and sheer helplessness. Jimmy’s despair is explored with sensitivity.
An incredibly great performance by Faasil — whose calm and subtle, but intelligent handling of his cousin’s mess, adds to the novelty of telling a tale in these trying times, when conventional forms of making cinema are on hold.