Lost is a fitting title for Yami Gautam’s latest drama, because that’s how I felt when the movie was over.
Gautam plays Vidhi, an investigative journalist in Kolkata who stumbles onto a story when she meets Namita (Honey Jain) at a police station. Namita’s brother Ishan (Tushar Pandey) — a street performer who produces plays about Dalit rights — has been missing for two weeks. His disappearance came during a rough patch with his girlfriend Ankita (Piaa Bajpai), a news anchor who recently accepted a job and an apartment from politician Ranjan Varman (Rahul Khanna). But Ankita never reported Ishan missing.
Before Vidhi can dig in to the disappearance, a story is leaked that Ishan is involved with a Maoist group accused of terrorism. With Ankita refusing to answer her phone calls, Vidhi figures she might as well seek out the Maoist leader to confirm or deny Ishan’s involvement.
Lost is a very busy film. It speed-runs a plot that is dense with details but light on character motivation and devoid of atmosphere. Calling it a thriller is being extremely generous, since it lacks any tension whatsoever.
The only scenes that are allowed to breathe are between Vidhi and her grandfather Nanu (Pankaj Kapur), with whom she lives. She bounces ideas about the case off of him and he tries to pretend that he’s not worried about her safety, despite noticing two creeps taking photos of their house. The two actors have an easy rapport that helps regulate the story’s pace.
One way to improve Lost would have been to have Kapur play Vidhi’s father, and to eliminate her parents from the story entirely. Their absence could’ve freed up time for plot development elsewhere. Besides, Kapur is only thirty-four years older than Gautam, and the actors cast to play her parents are styled to look just as old as Kapur anyway.
There’s also an under-cooked subplot with Vidhi and her long-distance boyfriend Jeet (Neil Bhoopalam), who is coming to realize that relocating to be with a woman who’s addicted to her job might not be a great idea. The only good thing to come from his involvement in the story is an early scene in a restaurant where they discuss Ishan’s case. A song plays with on-the-nose lyrics like, “The road is dark and dangerous. You might get killed.” Vidhi hears this upbeat ditty and decides it’s time to dance. For a movie that lacks subtext, this feels appropriate.