In a world that shuns and shuts those down who speak up, the making of Lost is an act of rebellion in itself... only if the burning desire to please could have been suppressed well before time.
Last Updated: 08.04 AM, Feb 18, 2023
STORY: If a nobody from the lower strata of society goes missing, does he invariably come ashore on the wrong side of establishment and pledge his allegiance to the doomed cause of rebellion? Anirudh Roy Chowdhury’s political-thriller raises questions aplenty—the Red Rebellion conflict topping that list—thus invoking a sense of thrill, and rendering the element of thriller, in Lost. However, somehow, while masquerading as a politically woke film with also a sharp social commentary to impart, Lost loses its initial (insert: well-earned) gloss.
REVIEW: Every once in a while, there comes a movie that reminds us of our younger days—and I am talking strictly about my journalist self here—that takes us down a nice little memory lane: just out of college, ambitious, a burning desire to change the world with mere words, but perhaps far too idealistic and borderline delusional for real life. Yami Gautam’s Vidhi Sahani is a crime reporter with a devil-may-care attitude in the politically charged city of Kolkata. A bereft woman, at a local police station, piques her interest and she quickly sniffs a potential exposé out involving a Dalit man, another journalist, some ‘bikao’ cops and a cruel minister. The truth, though, is farthest from reality but, then again, in a world conjured up in smokes and mirrors who is real and what qualifies as reality?
Yes, no two movies—even by the same director—deserve comparisons but when Anirudh’s other socio-political thriller came out (Pink, in case you haven’t followed his body of work), the level of conviction around all the topics dealt within the movie were laudable. Lost, however, has the template and setting of an excellent conversation-starter, especially around race and reasoning, but, somewhere along the line, perhaps in an attempt to appease entities on either side, falls prey to the curse of being ‘politically correct’ in the end.
Having said that, Anirudh’s stance on corruption is neither overbearing nor riddled in cliches but his understanding of the journalism world sure is. Even for a sellout, there are certain levels of dignity that need to be maintained in this profession. Also, it is mildly offensive that all journos, in almost all the movies and web shows, wear bad clothes. And Lost is, sadly, no exception to that.
But, without a shadow of a doubt, whatever is lacking in Lost has been regained through Yami Gautam’s splendid performance, especially her effortless-cool camaraderie with Dadu (an ever-appealing Pankaj Kapur). It is hard to pinpoint as to what resonates with her tough-exterior-softie-inside Vidhi but, if I were to guess, it is perhaps the agony of seeing the world crumble through the eyes of a hopeful agent of change. Neil Bhoopalam, who plays her long-distance partner, does his part well: paves the way for the woman in his life to rise and shine. Pia Bajpai is earnest as this ambitious small-towner until a point, beyond that she pops in and out of scenes like a poorly timed character. The man who starts it all—Tusha Pandey’s Ishan—comes in only as flashbacks, and is raw and heartwarming in those. Rahul Khanna (the cruel minister) is suave and you, of course, would love to hate him.
In a world that shuns and shuts those down who speak up, the making of Lost is an act of rebellion in itself... only if the burning desire to please could have been suppressed well before time. But you are not outraged that the film caves in to intangible demands, you are just sad that Yami Gautam’s winner of an act gets buried with it.
VERDICT: If you are a politically inclined person, with the curiosity to at least question what you see and hear, then Lost is a decent watch. The ending could be a downer for many, but the movie in its entirety is worth your time.