By Luciana Leitão
It has a few nominations to the Oscars, even though it doesn’t seem a serious contender, just because it doesn’t seem Hollywood style. Lion, by Garth Davis, tells the true story of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta. Adopted by a couple in Australia, 25 years later he will try to find his lost family. It is an incredibly painful and highly unlikely story. It just goes to show that sometimes reality is unlikely.
Imagine if you are a five-year-old Indian boy, used to live in a rural environment, lost from your elder brother, inside a train wagon, on the road to nowhere, in a country as huge as India. The fear, the loneliness, the void you must feel. The confusion, amid an hostile urban environment.
Saroo becomes a street child, as are so many in the urban centres in India, prone to the dangers which naturally involve this condition. He is eventually sent to an orphanage, being later adopted by the Brierley family in Tasmania.
The adopting couple is a loving and prosperous one, able to give him the opportunities he never would have otherwise. But Saroo never forgets his biological family, especially because he never was able to find them. Five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is amazing in his role, so is the 30 year-old one (Dev Patel). Nicole Kidman, as the mother of the adopted boy, also has a flawless role. But what impressed me the most in this story is how easy it is for a young boy to get lost from his family and not be able to find them, especially when you are talking about a country the size of India. The boy does not pronounce his home village correctly, he does not know his mother’s name, he has no other references than the emotional ones to give to the people helping him. Hence, he is lost for 25 years.
It’s a powerful and sad story, yet happy at the same time. A deep emotional portrait of a real situation.