Yami Gautam and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. Image Credit: ANI

Bollywood actress Yami Gautam, who walked the red carpet rolled out at the 53rd International Film Festival of India in Goa on November 23 for her upcoming thriller ‘Lost’, told Gulf News that she felt like a ‘debutante’.

“It’s my first time at this prestigious festival and firsts are always special! But it feels incredibly good because I am confident about ‘Lost’ and the way the story has been portrayed. It’s an investigative thriller with a strong undertone of emotional and moral conflict,” said Gautam in an exclusive interview with Gulf News.

Helmed by National Award-winning director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, whose credits include the stirring Bollywood drama ‘Pink’, ‘Lost’ is a tale of a missing theatre activist.

Gautam plays an investigative journalist who is covering the complicated disappearance case. The movie also features seasoned actors Pankaj Kapoor and Rahul Khanna in crucial roles.

“But it’s not just an investigative thriller … There are also complex subtexts and a comment on media integrity … The whole idea for me is to come up with consistent good films so that I earn goodwill from viewers,” said Gautam.

In terms of legwork, she didn’t reference any actual real-life journalists but found that the celebrated Hollywood film ‘Spotlight’ was a great starting point. ‘Spotlight’, which opened to superlative reviews, was a tale of how a team of reporters, played by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams, uncover a child abuse story that had roots that go back several decades.

“Media integrity is a subject that I have often felt strongly about. There have been times when I have felt that I have been unfairly represented in the media and I wondered why they didn’t reach out to clarify with me. Now I have begun to understand that it’s your bread and butter, but it doesn’t make it right,” said Gautam in Hindi.

‘Lost’, which enjoyed a star-studded premiere at IFFI, was one of the 280 films that have been chosen to feature at this significant cinema-centric event. The festival, which was founded in 1952, is conducted jointly by the National Film Development Corporation of India and the state Government of Goa.

Gautam was one of many Bollywood stars attending this festival. Actors including Ajay Devgn, Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kartik Aaryan and Kannada actor-director Rishab Shetty of ‘Kantara’ fame have reached Goa to lend their power to IFFI 2022.

‘Lost’’s release date for the public is yet to be confirmed (perhaps early next year), but Gautam’s movie was met with vociferous approvals from guests who attended the premiere.

“Yami was brilliant in the film. She lights up the screen with her sheer screen presence. She holds the fort,” said Peter D’Souza, who saw the film at IFFI 2022.

Read the full interview with Gautam and director Chowdhury soon.