Lost and found: Yami Gautam's unconventional character in 'Lost' breaks mould

Yami has stuck to the pattern in 'Lost', where she is a relentless crime reporter, searching for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a theatre activist.
Yami Gautam
Yami Gautam

Yami Gautam-Dhar has some illustrious footsteps to follow. Like Preity Zinta and Kangana Ranaut, she is a successful actor who travelled from Himachal Pradesh to Mumbai with stars in her eyes. Then she was just 20 years old. It took until 2012 for the multi-faceted actor to almost become a star, with a role as the Bengali divorcee in Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor.

In 2019, Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019) made her one. Since then, she has delivered several memorable performances in films such as Bala (2019), Ginny Weds Sunny (2020) and Bhoot Police (2021). She opened this year with A Thursday, a psycho-drama that put her in the big league. Her latest appearance is as an intrepid journalist in Lost, directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, which premiered at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) last month.

Yami’s formula for success is simple, but difficult to execute. She picks roles that throw the audience off, like her performance in Kaabil as a blind woman. In A Thursday, she played a school teacher-turned-maniac kidnapper who takes 16 toddlers as hostages, followed by Dasvi, where she was a sharp-eyed jail superintendent.

Yami has stuck to the pattern in 'Lost', where she is a relentless crime reporter, searching for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a theatre activist. Yami’s mantra: “Whenever I start a new project, I go with the feeling that this is my first film. Chalo, let’s create. I approach every film with that kind of energy and vulnerability,” says the 34-year-old.

For Lost, Yami observed and interacted with several veterans in the media industry on the set in Kolkata. “Journalists are as normal as anyone else, but the moment they get into their work, a certain aura and sincerity can be seen in their demeanour. It is not something that can be projected or underlined in dialogues. I had to internalise it,” she says.

Like many current films, Lost too is inspired by true events and is an allegorical tale about empathy and integrity. The film also stars Pankaj Kapur and Rahul Khanna in significant roles. Talking about working with three-time National Award-winning Kapur, who plays her grandfather, Yami says, “From Pankaj sir, I understood an actor’s contribution towards creating an ambience for their character. It is always the details that make you stand out. It was an experience watching him live.”

Before opening at IFFI, Lost received an inspiring response at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival and the Atlanta Indian Film Festival. It will soon be released on the OTT platform, Zee5. “It is a two-way street,” says Yami, when asked whether she has been consciously chasing such brave, path-breaking themes, or if these were the kind of scripts that were anyway coming to her.

“You have to have an intention and look for such roles, but I also never question my directors why they thought of me for a particular character,” she says.

The actor doesn’t tire of talking about collaborating with Chowdhary, better known as Tony in film circles. “There were many constraints while shooting, especially because it had to be shot on the ground and not in a studio. We filmed amid a real crowd. As a captain of the ship, you need a kind of energy to hold your team together, and I was happy to shoulder that responsibility with Tonyda. We were charged up even on the 10th scene of the day because we believed in the director’s vision,” she says.

The actor is now gearing up for OMG 2, a satirical comedy, followed by suspense-thriller Chor Nikal Ke Bhaaga, and action-comedy Dhoom Dhaam.

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The New Indian Express