"Lion" Based on the True Story of Mr. Saroo Brierley
On New Year's Day, we started 2017 by seeing an affecting film titled "Lion" which was based on the true story of Mr. Saroo Brierley who was separated from his family in Kwandwa, India when he was quite young and later adopted by a middle-class couple named Brierley who raised him in Tasmania, Australia. Twenty-five years later, around 2011, with the help of "Google Earth" he was able to locate his origins and re-unite with his birth family after an extensive search.
Today Mr. Brierley, whose birth name is Sheru Munshi Khan, is a very successful businessman residing in Australia but in consistent contact with his family in India. In 2012 he wrote an autobiography titled "A Long Way Home" upon which "Lion" is based.
What particularly moved us about "Lion" were the early scenes about how young Saroo (after falling asleep in a railway car that took him 930 miles from home) is forced to survive on the streets of Kolkata as a scavenger and it is strongly suggested that he almost becomes a victim of human trafficking. Eventually he is aided by the "Indian Society for Sponsorship and Adoption" who certainly tries to help him find his home but unfortunately Saroo (who is under the age of ten) does not know enough to help them conduct an adequate search.
We also loved the attitude of the Australian couple (very well played by Ms. Nicole Kidman and Mr. David Wenham) who could have had their own children but decided not to after taking into consideration the number of children already born who are in need of love and a good home.
Special credit should also go to Mr. Dev Patel, the actor who played the lead in "Slumdog Millionaire" back in 2008, who plays Saroo when he is older. Mr. Patel believably conveys the frustration and confusion that a person in Saroo's position would naturally feel; he wants to find his birth family but he wonders if this will disrupt the successful life that he has created for himself in Australia and doesn't want to hurt his adoptive family.
"Lion" moved us so much that we were motivated to look up some articles on-line about Mr. Brierley and learn more about him. In the course of our research, we learned in a "Variety" article that the Weinstein Company (which produced the film) is partnering with other charities to assist homeless children in India. Mr. Harvey Weinstein said, "Sometimes a movie will transform a situation. Hopefully this one will."
Mr. Dev Patel, himself, issued a statement which reads, "Unfortunately stories like Saroo's are all too common. Over 80,000 children go missing each year and there are over 11 million children living on the streets of India alone. There are organizations on the ground doing amazing work to help kids like Saroo. And the best way we can help is by giving them the financial support they so desperately need."
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC