Lost (2023) Review!!

Synopsis – An emotional thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

My Take – With 2016’s Pink, a haunting legal thriller, director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury not only presented a film which was well shaped in every form, but also managed to raise the threshold for excellent and fearless storytelling. Naturally, expectations were always going to be high for his next attempt at feature filmmaking.

His latest too, a ZEE5 release, is set as intriguing thriller, sees Yami Gautam as its lead, and delves into the topic of missing persons across India, and how many of these cases are not as easy to solve as they seem, all the while exploring important social themes.

But while the film deals with a relevant premise, unfortunately, director Roy Chowdhury‘s painfully inert telling and a distorted script from writers Shyamal Sengupta and Ritesh Shah (Sardar Udham, Raid) makes it difficult to care about the protagonist’s persistent efforts onscreen. Resulting in a passable thriller that has a few interesting moments.

The film attempts to explore too many aspects like corporate sexism, entrenched patriarchy, systemic corruption, and Maoist troubles, but misses the mark by doing to any of them justice. There is also an ideological conflict over how journalists and extremists both attempt to manipulate the facts by portraying their version of an event and its repercussions as fact.

Though all of them seem appropriate for the story, they also become unnecessary loose additions to an already heavy screenplay. It also doesn’t help that the film struggles to keep focus due to some unwanted aspects.

Yes, the film isn’t a terrible by any means, but the lack of consistency in the storytelling reduces the overall impact considerably. This could have been a film that initiated an important conversation, but ends up diluting itself with a translation that is too bland and confused.

The story follows Vidhi Sahani (Yami Gautam), a young crime reporter, who finds herself drawn into investigating the sudden disappearance of a young theater activist, Ishan Bharti (Tushar Pandey). While the cops insist on labeling Ishan a Maoist radical, his sister (Honey Jain) continues to maintain that despite his beliefs and activism, he was firmly against violence and would never join any terror outfit.

With her grandfather (Pankaj Kapur) providing her the right guidance, Vidhi’s investigation leads her down a rabbit hole with all roads pointing towards Ranjan Varman (Rahul Khanna), a charismatic state minister, and Ankita Chauhan (Pia Bajpiee), Ishan’s ambitious ex-girlfriend and former news anchor who is now being groomed to be a MLA.

The film jumps immediately into Vidhi’s quest to investigate all conceivable perspectives and sources in order to comprehend her story. At its heart, this one is a very political film that dissects the system and shows the unpleasant reality from a journalist’s perspective. There are sporadic phases in this thriller by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury that feels disturbing and absorbing. The film feels very intriguing in the middle portions, where Vidhi is confused about how to proceed in her investigation, like when she confronts Ankita, whose counter question puts Vidhi in a tough position.

It was moments like these that made us feel the bitterness of reality. The film also does manage to produce some good scenes with meaningful exchanges when Vidhi offers support to Ishan’s sister through her own struggles; in showing how her boyfriend Jeet (Neil Bhoopalam), like her parents, thinks very little of the struggles of lower-caste people; and even in exploring her own motivations.

Yet, the film feels thoroughly inconsistent due to its deliberate efforts to deviate into the personal life of Vidhi, particularly her dicey long-distance relationship with Jeet. The film just spends far too much time on unimportant matters such as Vidhi’s relationship with her wealthy, image-conscious parents, and the largely unexplained motivations and ambitions of Ankita Chauhan.

Meaningless interviews of Varman and police officials by Vidhi take up too much screen time, and the clock seems to run out on the film before it can really solve any of the various mysteries it created. Forcing the climax to feel rushed, disconnected, and unsatisfactory.

Performance wise, Yami Gautam continues to be in fine form. Here, she firmly grounds her tenacity and is very convincing as a crime reporter who is very determined in her quest for the truth. She definitely carries the film on her shoulders and makes a mark.

In supporting roles, Pankaj Kapur is great as always, Rahul Khanna leaves a lasting impression as a slick, dishonest politician, and Pia Bajpayee manage to hold her own. Tushar Pandey and Honey Jain also leave their mark. However, Neil Bhoopalam is wasted. On the whole, ‘Lost’ is a passable political thriller that couldn’t completely use its premise despite a compelling Yami Gautam performance.

Directed –

Starring – Yami Gautam, Pankaj Kapur, Neil Bhoopalam

Rated – NR

Run Time – 124 minutes

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