There is a scene in the flick “Lion”, the drama which is oscar nominated and starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman as protagonists, that stands out more than others. It is that scene where Saroo, a boy who is just five-year old gets separated from his parents and finds himself alone at Calcutta Railway Terminus, which is nearly a thousand miles away from his home. Shunted by strangers who have no time and patience to hear him out, he goes up on a pole in a hope to spot a known face in the crowd. The furthur sight that awaits him and viewrs is frightening. For as far as is the limit of little boy’s eye can reach , he sees only swarm of busy commuters, a jungle of unknown adults. The visual depiction of that knee-high child lost in the big bad world is overwhelming. It is in that very moment that the hard-hitting reality of his situation truly becomes evident at viewr’s senses.
The movie, as you may know, is made on the true story of Saroo Brierley, who was adopted by a couple in abroad after he got lost and became estranged from his parents and his home in a village in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The protagonist Dev Patel who played the grown up Saroo, is truely affecting in his performance. In fact, it is Dev Patel’s most mature and heart-touching performance. In the age of late twenties, Saroo becomes obsessed with finding his real family, and the portions which depict the internal unease he is grappling with are very effectively delivered by by the actor.
But to be true, Dev Patel and everyone else in the movie including Nicole Kidman as Saroo’s adoptive mother and Rooney Mara as his loving and supporting girlfriend are totally eclipsed by Sunny Pawar, the small child who portrayed the young Saroo. He’s a real find, and it breaks your heart to see him go through those horrific experiences when he’s first lost on the streets of Calcutta.
The in between part of the movie certainly feels a little bit boring, mainly due to Saroo’s obsessive search using Google Earth to find the one station out of myriad ones in India that will match with a childhood memory he has in his brain. It is a experience which is fascinating and intriguing.
Watching this film with a soft heart and sensitive brain of an Indian, there are bound to be few things that will tear you in agony . Uncomfortable truths that are heart-wrenching, the depiction of apathy towards the poor, the ugly reality of child abuse, and that of ‘white saviour’ element to the story are some of them. But director Garth Davis’ is accolade worthy as even in its weakest of moments the film seldom feels gratuitous. Unlike so many films of foreign which are set in India.
The thing that doesn’t hold back on is wringing every available drop of emotion from the big pay-off in the end. As it is a true story one knows where things are reaching, but in no way does that lessen the impact of this film. Do not miss it.