What a lovely film my friend and I saw last week – ‘Lion’. It is based on a true story and tells the life story of Saroo Brierley. Saroo as a 5 year old boy is very close to his older brother Guddu, and they live with their mother, who is a labourer, and their young sister in the Ganesh Talai neighborhood of Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh (their father has abandoned them). The family is poor, and the boys often have to beg for food at their local railway station.
One night Guddu rides the train to Burhanpur to look for night work. Saroo does not want to be separated from his brother, and begs to be allowed to go too. On the train Saroo falls asleep and does not want to wake up when they reach their destination. Guddu lays Saroo on a bench on the station, and tells him to sleep and not to move until he comes back.
Saroo wakes up in the middle of the night and calls for his brother. Guddu is nowhere to be found, and Saroo begins to wander about, boarding one of the trains standing silently at the station. He falls asleep again on the train, and when he wakes up he is 1600km away from his home, where nobody speaks Hindi, Saroo’s mother tongue.
Saroo is forced to scavenge for food and sleep on the streets until he is taken in by a railway worker and his partner, but Saroo senses that something is not right about them and makes his escape. He eventually meets a teenager who takes him to the police and there Saroo is reported as a lost child. He cannot pronounce the area where he lives properly, and the police have not heard of it. He is taken to a government centre for abandoned children.
Twenty five years later the scene switches to Australia, and the excellent actor Dev Patel plays the adult Saroo. However, I won’t give too much of the story away. We also did not find out the relevance of the ‘Lion’ title until right at the end. All I can say is that, ladies, you’re in for a treat if you watch this film. At one point I looked around the cinema and all I could see were women wiping their eyes and sniffing! The film is a PG, so there’s nothing nasty to give you any nightmares. It’s a real treat, and I recommend it most highly.