'Lost' review: Not Entirely a Lost Cause

Apart from the presence of Pankaj Kapur, who plays Vidhi’s worldly wise grandfather, everyone else fails to inject a sense of much-needed urgency into the narrative.
A still from the film 'Lost'
A still from the film 'Lost'

At one point in Lost, a tough-as-nails journalist Vidhi Sahni (Yami Gautam) walks around Kolkata gathering more information on the missing case of street theatre activist, Ishaan Bharti (Tushar Pandey).

In her pursuit, she misses an important family event, but all seems well when she manages to reach the right people at the right time to get the right information. Vidhi is a scribe who doesn’t get bogged down by threats, not even from the most powerful. That is inspiring, but the problem is it just seems too easy.

Films based on journalism tend to have a burst of optimism, but Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s follow-up to Pink, to the film’s advantage, doesn’t really paint a rosy picture.

There is some talk about the Naxal movement in Bengal, and a touch-and-go about how politicians influence people’s perceptions of a revolution. Ishaan and his journalist-girlfriend Ankita Chauhan (Pia Bajpai) form a side track through which the film attempts to shed the spotlight on the ambitions of a small-town girl.

We also see a suave politician, Ranjan Varman (Rahul Khanna), who is a major player in the state’s politics and is able to make an MLA of an ex-journalist with unsettling ease. It is evident that the film has its heart in the right place, but the biggest setback for Lost is its attempt to address too many things in its two-hour run time. None of the issues gets enough importance and very few registers. Despite exploring poignant themes, an overarching sense of nothingness flavours the proceedings.

Apart from the presence of Pankaj Kapur, who plays Vidhi’s worldly wise grandfather, everyone else fails to inject a sense of much-needed urgency into the narrative. Lost is not entirely a lost cause though, and Gautam is compelling and convincing as the protagonist, who is steadfast in her ideals but finds the system resistant to her ethics. She has a certain aspirational quality to her, but her writing doesn’t always manage to bring it out. It glosses through major incidents.

We see deaths and abduction, but a sense of detachment pervades. And when the proverbial other shoe drops, it expects us to collectively rally behind a cause simply because it’s ‘important’. This leaves you with a film that feels less like a gripping drama and more like an academic lecture.

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