There are things in life we all want: always aspiring to be more, to have more, to be better, richer, happier, more prosperous. But we never really stop to think about what we already have. The safety of a home, the love of a family, a healthy body and so much more. Try and imagine the loss and desperation of a child who loses his family; his safe haven.
Lion is the story of such a child Saroo. It’s a norm for me to cry when I watch an emotional movie that I no longer judge a movie to be sad by my tears. They just flow. They are not trustworthy.
But this movie I watched with a friend. A friend who doesn’t usually cry watching movies even when I have used up half a tissue box wiping off my tears. But imagine the grief this movie and story depicted that when I turned to grab another tissue for myself; my tears stopped midstream. My friend was silently crying, her face all botched up and sad. And obviously, I started laughing. I had to. It was a rare sight.
Later I discussed with her why this movie could make her cry when so many others couldn’t. The reason was simple. In other sad grieving movies, the characters themselves cry so much, express their hurt. So you don’t feel the need to cry for them. They are already doing the job pretty well themselves.
But in Lion, the little innocent and untarnished kid got separated from his brother at a train station. He fell asleep on the train and when he woke up, he did not know where he was or where he had come from. He did not know his mother’s name or his muhalla’s name. He only knew that his brother was called Guddu.
He just kept shouting out ammi and Guddu everywhere he went as though they would appear out of thin air. His quiet desperation, his desolation and his small and feeble form roaming about completely alone and unaware of his fate; of the dark trap of a world he had fallen into could make many hard-hearted people tear up.
His fate turned out to be better than other orphans and lost kids roaming the streets of India. He was adopted by an Australian couple and brought up in a great home by loving parents and much better facilities and life than he could have imagined. The role of the boy when he grows up has been played by Dev Patel (Slumdog millionaire guy), who was later nominated for an Oscar for this role.
In the movie, Saroo grew up to be a stable, confident; affectionately attached and involved with his adoptive parents. But a minor incidence in his adult life opened a Pandora’s Box of memories for him. The memories of his mother hugging him, of his older brother lovingly promising to buy him jalebis when he would have enough money one day, of his little sister.
He just could not get the memories out of his head. They kept rolling in, making him restless and disturbing everything normal he had in his life. He became obsessed with finding out the location of the train station where he was first lost. But his only guide was the memory of a 5-year-old boy.
The movie revolves around his struggle, the emptiness he feels when he fails to find his roots, his real identity, his obsession, his helplessness and his unwavering resolve. But a man possessed with such a mission cannot cope with the reality around him. And gradually he began to cut off all ties he had with anyone.
The movie was so eye-opening. We just keep running and moving forward every day; never really pause to appreciate all that we are blessed with, all that we would be incomplete and hopeless without. Each member of the cast has acted brilliantly but the acting of Sunny Pawar playing the role of young Saroo was unmatched in my opinion.
The movie is a must-see for anyone looking to get back in touch with their core, and for anyone needing a wakeup call about keeping one eye on the goals they can see at the end of the tunnel and the other eye on all those people who are helping us get through the darkness of the tunnel.
Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara
Directed by: Garth Davis