Movies

Acting in front of a screen was difficult: Fahadh Faasil

Fahadh Faasil in a promotion still from ‘C U Soon’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

Fahadh Faasil is well known for playing the good, the bad and the ugly. Often tagged as the unconventional hero, he has emerged as one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, as he continues to push the envelope with his choice of roles and versatility.

The actor is ready with C U Soon, perhaps a first-of-its-kind film in India, where an entire story is told through virtual communication devices. Dropping on an OTT platform on September 1, the film has been directed by Mahesh Narayanan, with whom Fahadh had worked in Take Off (2017) and yet-to-be-released Malik.

A thriller, C U Soon moves through the lives of Kevin (Fahadh), a software engineer in Kerala, and his Dubai-based cousin Jimmy (Roshan Mathew). The action begins when Anu (Darshana Rajendran), Jimmy’s fiancé, goes missing.In a Zoom chat with MetroPlus, which lasted under 10 minutes, the actor talked about the new format and experimenting on OTT platforms. Excerpts from the interview:

What were the challenges in attempting this genre?

The story [by Mahesh] enthused me, but it was not at all smooth going to execute the project. It is much easier to shoot a conventional film.As we were shooting in such unprecedented circumstances, I [as the co-producer, the other producer being his wife, Nazriya Nazim] had to make sure that everyone was safe, and that no one was exposed to the pandemic.

As this was an experimental film, new challenges came up as the shoot proceeded. It was not possible to have the creative collaboration you have in a usual shoot. Usually, we use several methods for a take or to get the actors to be organic. But this format rules out that. I am constantly acting in front of a screen, which made it difficult for me as an actor.

So how did you crack the scenes?

Fahadh Faasil on the location of ‘C U Soon’

Fahadh Faasil on the location of ‘C U Soon’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

What really helped was that the cast and the crew stayed together throughout the shoot. On some days, we artistes sat around a table and acted out the sequences. Or, I watched the video of the co-actor on the monitor to time my reactions better. I had to get the rhythm of the other actor.

Do you think that the viewership of such a film will be restricted to a certain age group who are more familiar with virtual communication platforms?

Not really. My 60-year-old mother regularly chats with my sister over FaceTime. People across all ages are now familiar with this interface, something which happened during lockdown. Virtual communication became a day-to-day activity in households for families to stay connected when they got stuck in different parts of the world. We have just a planted a story into that interface.

How did you familiarise yourself with the concept?

Searching (2018) is one of the most-discussed screen-based films and I watched it long before it became a talking point. But the idea was not to remake Searching. When you get inspired by something, you want to do better than that and that’s what we have attempted. I don’t know whether we have succeeded. Maybe, this film might inspire someone else to come up with a perfect work in this genre.

Tell us about your association with Mahesh…

We both are, to an extent, weird and mad in our own terms. That’s why we hit on ideas very well. When we discussed the film, I was clear about how this film would shape up. I strongly believe that only Mahesh could have made this possible.

And you are already thinking about a theatrical version of C U Soon

Yes, we have a plan. We will be more clear about that once this version comes out. While this one looks at their lives through multiple devices, the extension will focus on their real lives, shot in the format of a usual film.

How do you look at people discovering regional cinema on OTT platforms during the lockdown, with Malayalam cinema getting more noticed?

Until two years ago, someone in Mumbai wouldn’t have taken the trouble to read the subtitles to enjoy a Malayalam film. It takes quite an effort to take your eyes of a scene and read the subtitle. But that has changed. So I would read it as the cinema lovers themselves taking a step to visibly understand a film. This is going to get bigger in another five years, when we will start enjoying films from across the world.

Do you think OTT is the future for the film industry as there is so much uncertainty about when theatres will be able to reopen?

I don’t believe so. The thing is there are other industries that are worse affected than the film industry. I am very clear that I don’t want to be responsible for someone contracting the disease because they went to watch my film.

C U Soon is not made for theatres. It’s just 90 minutes long and I don’t think any theatre would be interested in exhibiting it. So I consider this scenario as an opportunity to do different kind of films;OTT is a platform for that. Had it not been there, I wouldn’t have attempted this. Theatres will always be there and, primarily, I want to do films for theatres. It’s just that I felt like exploring this possibility of this medium at such a time.

C U Soon streams on Amazon Prime from September 1

 

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 11:33:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/fahadh-faasil-on-his-experimental-flick-c-u-soon/article32472023.ece

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