Exclusive interview with Yami Gautam Dhar on Lost

Yami Gautam Dhar is an Indian actress who has been a part of several projects that have received critical and commercial success, such as Vicky Donor, KaabilI, Uri: The Surgical Strike, and more. She was recently seen in ZEE5 Global’s Lost. 

In Lost, Yami Gautam Dhar plays the role of Vidhi Sahani, a determined journalist. The film follows Vidhi as she goes to extreme lengths to uncover the mystery of a theatre activist’s disappearance.

The actor spoke to The Envoy Web and shared her views regarding the film and the character that she plays. She further talked about her experience of working with co-actor Pankaj Kapur and the director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury.

What was it that attracted you to this role? Why did you pick this film?

I loved the script, I wanted to work with Tony da (Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury), and I loved my part; I loved my Vidhi. It was just based on instinct.

As an actor, it got me excited. As an audience, it kept me engaged. I thought that is a great amalgamation to have, and that’s how the journey of Lost started. 

Since you talked about your character, how would you describe Vidhi? What is it that makes her special and different from other characters you have played so far?

I’ve been reading that people feel that Vidhi is strong, she is courageous, she is bold, and she is vulnerable. She is all those things put together. 

At the same time, she is like a girl who could be walking there and blending in the crowd, just like you and me, but with such a strong bent of mind. I think that is what makes her special.

I have to thank Tony da for the rhythm of this film and the rhythm of this character. Any character or any film that we do has a rhythm.

The same character can be performed in five different ways, but he chose the most subtle, the most natural portrayal or approach, and I loved that. 

His mantra was listen more, and I absolutely love that. Sometimes we feel that ek line bolne ke liye itna impact hona chaiye (there should be an impact in delivering a line), it should feel like a dialogue. 

No, it might be one of the most impactful lines but, just like you and I talking, it’s calm. We’re making a point, but we’re doing it in the most natural way. I love that about her. 

Of course, she needs to be just like us in real life; there are times that our patience is tested and we just flare up, that’s okay, that’s a normal occasion. Overall, she is someone who is very approachable. 

I think that is what people are finding it to be. They are able to see themselves, even if they’re from different professions, as part of Nidhi’s journey as a common man. That’s what I think is special about her.

The film takes up many issues and raises important questions. If you had to pick one issue that you think is the most important and relevant to our times, which one would it be?

It has a lot of derivates — mental health, the humane connection. I know we’re living in a very digital age, where we’re so driven by cameras, phones, and social media. Everything has to be put up out there, everything has to be out there. 

It’s a different virtual reality or a different world, but somewhere, I miss being that 90s kid, when everything was more (personal), not that it’s not now, but it’s still technology at the end of the day. 

It’s less personal, it’s more transactional, and it’s all coming on us, on our mental health.

I think that is what is happening because we are all talking about it everywhere. On every platform, everyone has something to say, something to share, some advice, some suggestion, some pep talk, this and that, but are we even absorbing it in our real lives?

I feel there’s something that is missing in this whole horde of putting yourself on that map.

To add to that, what would you want the main takeaway to be for the audience?

There are some films that are larger than life, that are huge, that are away from reality; they are a fantasy land, which we like (when we) want to get cut off from the world; we feel happy. 

I enjoy that world, but then I also enjoy (the) loss of the world that is reality, that is today, that is realistic, that is you and I.

At the same time, it’s an engaging film because, at the end of the day, it’s a film; it’s not a docudrama, and it’s not just facts and information. 

It’s a film that is meant to entertain you, that is meant to engage you, so I think it’s one of those rare amalgamations of substance meeting a film. I think that’s the takeaway.

You share such a warm relationship with Pankaj Kapur in the film. What was it like working with him and with the director, Chowdhury?

I’m so glad Tony da convinced Pankaj ji to play my nanu, I don’t have any other face for nanu.

While the character, because they had some lines from Geeta or his life or generally how the arch of the character was written, was always pepping her up, it could be made into something preachy.

But the way he performed it was just like us talking to our grandparent at home. You want to listen to them, they are your friend.

He’s my mother also. He’s feeding me, pepping me up, protecting me; he’s my guardian. He’s that one character that has so many other characters in him, and who better than the legendary Pankaj Kapur to do that?

What a joy (it was) working with him, what an experience working with him! 

As an actor, I was constantly on the lookout. I have watched his films, and we all have admired his work and the genius craft that he has, but what goes behind making that craft, I got to experience it in person. 

It’s all the details, he does a lot of detailed work. He has everything thought in his mind already about his character, every scene he has choreographed in his mind.

He takes an understanding from the director, and then he goes for it, so (it was a) great, great experience working with Pankaj sir. 

Again, Tony da (is a) lovely director to work with, a great director. I think he’s one of the best directors of our country and a great team leader.

Film ban jati hai, but ek acchi film tabhi ban sakti hai agar jo director hai unka intention bilkul correct ho. (A film is made, but a good film is made only when the director’s intentions are completely right.)

You can’t go wrong with a film like Lost. You can’t have anything else in your intention but to make an honest film, as it was for Tony da. He has pegged me so much, and he has pampered me so much. 

We’ve also worked really hard in every nook and corner of Kolkata, sometimes ten changes a day, running from the metro to the van, which is parked somewhere else on the road.

But you want to do all those things, you want to do those things because your director has that ability to inspire you. 

Your character is Bengali in this film, and you’ve played a Bengali character before in Vicky Donor. What was it like this time, was it hard or was it easier?

See, in Vicky Donor, Ashima is a Bengali, like an out-and-out Bengali. Here, we have come from another town and have settled in Kolkata. She is Vidhi Sahni, but she has lived in Kolkata, she is comfortable with Kolkata, with Bengali as a language.

Whenever there was an opportunity, I spoke Bengali, but they are two very different Bengalis. 

I’m glad that ten years back, I started my journey with something so substantial and something so performance oriented. Ten years later, here I am, talking also about a film that I look back to with a lot of respect.

I think I have some connection with Kolkata and Bengalis, for sure.  

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