Film poster of Lion (2016)

Being a movie buff and a cinema fan, I always look forward to the Oscar awards nominations and the following ceremony. This year when I read the names of the nominated films, I was delighted to see a Mumbai connection in one of the film named ‘Lion’! Sunny Pawar, a child artist, who stars in the movie is a Mumbai’kar who has won hearts of the American & world audience.

I made it a point to see the film ‘Lion’ for two main reasons. Firstly, because the film is based on a true story and therefore I wanted to study the film. Secondly to see Sunny Pawar’s acting. Sunny is brilliant in his role and full marks to the film directors to have removed the best out of him. Sunny Pawar’s video interview here:

The book on which the film ‘Lion’ is based on. Young Saroo Brierley on its cover.

While I was studying the film’s story its overall presentation I went through a spectrum of emotions. The maternal love, a child’s craving for a home, a young man’s mission to reconnect to his lost family, truly touched my heart. The film ‘Lion’ is a biopic based on the life of Saroo Brierley, who now is an Australian citizen, but is of an Indian origin. Saroo was adopted from an orphanage in Kolkotta, India, by an Australian couple back in the 1980s. The film depicts Saroo’s painful journey of his poverty-stricken childhood and then being separated from his biological parent/siblings at the tender age of 5 years. Unable to communicate to the cops about his family, Saroo is finally placed in a Kolkotta orphanage from where he moves to Australia into a totally privileged surrounding! Saroo’s life changes dramatically thereafter and with the blessings of education and love of his adopted parents, Saroo develops into a gratitude filled sensitive young man. But throughout this growing years he always longs to find out about his lost family back home in India. Whatever little information Saroo has about his home in India is stored in his ‘photographic’ memory. In his growing years, he feels helpless as there is no way he can trace his origins and secretly feels sad about it. When Saroo attends College, he shares his desire to trace his biological family with his friends. His friends encourage him to try the then newly launched ‘Google Earth’ app. Saroo takes the advice seriously and starts his search. He becomes hopeful as he realizes that with the application of Maths and general facts of time and distance (referring the Indian railway time table) he may be able to trace his native town (which he knew was to South of Kolkotta). Thus daily after his work hours, with a determined and disciplined approach, Saroo obsessively starts searching for his native town in India, as he feels deep passion to know the well-being and whereabouts of his lost family. Finally after 6 years of resilient effort Saroo manages to find his native town in India on ‘Google Earth’ app! Thereafter he decides to travel to India and meet his biological mother, who he remembers loving him unconditionally as a child. On reaching his home town in India, Saroo gets united with his lost family and thus on a happy note, his mission comes to an end. For more info about Saroo Brierley click here:

Saroo Brierley with his Australian adopted mother, Sue Brierley

As I reflected on the film and its background, I surfed the internet to find more information on real life Saroo’s Australian parents and his pre and post adoption life. Since I personally care for causes related to the homeless and orphans, Saroo’s story touched my heart till its core. My reflections hinted me to explore two things: One was, inspite of living in a privileged environment, why would an adopted child want to connect with a family who lived somewhere in a poverty stricken Indian town?  Well, as a Psychologist I know, ‘irrespective of the socio-economic standards, when a child receives unconditional love from his/her parents, he/she feels special’. Even though they lived in utter poverty, Saroo’s biological mother cared for him and had instilled family values of sibling care and sharing whatever little they have with each other. Saroo’s guilt (as an adult) of living in privilege environment while his biological mother and siblings still living in poverty makes him restless. Saroo feels the responsibility of finding them and uplift their standards too. My first question got answered with an epiphany “that only if one experiences genuine love in one’s past, a person would look back and re-connect!”

Real and reel Saroo Brierleys- Sunny Pawar (middle) and actor Dev Patel (right)

The second question was technology based. Is the excessive time spent on technology today compromising our time spend on human relationships? Are we coming closer and bonding with each other or drifting away? By Saroo’s use of his education, along with availability of technological support through Google Earth app, he achieves connecting with the people he misses and who he wants to truly help. For more info on Saroo’s use of technology click here:

Saroo Brierley re-united with his biological mother, Fatima Munshi Khan, in Khadwa, India A second epiphany dawned on me, which matched with real life Saroo’s statement in the video I saw, “that everything we want in this world, is now available at the click of a button, but one has to have the will & the determination to have it and connect!” Adding further I feel, that ‘will and determination’ cannot be searched and derived out of the ‘google search app’, rather it only can be developed in one’s mind if there is enough love in one’s heart!


Photos: Free internet download sources