Lion was a beautiful film.
Thought provoking, emotional and heart-warming, it questioned what and who we call home. It focuses on a young boy named Saroo who goes missing and travels far and wide from his hometown in India, Ganesh Talai. He grew up in the suburbs with his mother, older brothers and younger sister. Living in poor conditions, Saroo and Guddu would beg at the railway station for food and sold things found on the floors of train carriages. In what is a deprived but loving life, full of heart, Saroo finds himself following in his brother’s footsteps.
And then it all goes wrong.
When he wakes up from a nap waiting for his brother to return after a night job, he finds that he is alone and boards a train he thinks Guddu is on. He wasn’t. From there, Saroo is thrust into an unknown world, full of frightening people and life-threatening situations; he sees things that no child should ever have to witness. He spends the night at a railway station with a group of children, and yet those children were taken by a group of men.
The film highlights the dark, cruel side of India. A lot of films that centre on India, especially Bollywood, seem to showcase India as being this beautiful paradise and while, there are wonderful places there, as there are in all countries, it is not a perfect fairy tale land of love and songs in fields.
It is a corrupt and festering place, where children are sold as slaves and forced into a life of horror and pain. A place where children are exploited and abused. Where the poor are discarded as lesser. Where the colour of your skin dictates how far you get in life. Where people are forced to live by a caste system. It is a place where police officers are corrupt and are paid off while innocent people are picked off like insects.
And then, when Saroo is faced with a glimmer of hope, it is taken from him. He ends up at an orphanage where children are beaten, raped and forced to do things no child should have to do.
So, it is no shock when he realises that he’s been picked out to be adopted by two Australian people. From there, he finds love and life in a new place, a new family. It is not all resolved however, Saroo may have fallen in love, found himself in a new world, made friendships and found love for his adoptive parents, but the tug of home is still strong.
And twenty-five years later, he finds his birth mother.