Last night I watched the last movie (before summer) of the film society I belong to: LION
It is a biographical film based on the non-fiction book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley, an Indian boy in search of his origins, his family and his land, alive only in his heart and memories.
In 1986, five year old, Saroo follows his elder brother Guddu to a nearby station, where he has gone for a job. He decides to stay back because he is tired, and to wait there. When Guddu does not return, Saroo looks for him and boards a train thinking his brother is aboard. He falls asleep and wakes up while the train is in motion. After several days and thousands of kilometres across India, away from home and family, he arrives in Kolkata. He doesn’t speak the local Bengali language. and he has to learn to survive alone. Eventually he is taken to the police, who cannot trace his family, so he is taken in by an orphanage.
The following year he is adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, Saroo, by now a healthy, happy, sporty young man, armed with only a handful of memories, but full of determination, starts using Google Earth, to search for his hometown in India. It is a painful trying research, which little by little takes him away from everything and everyone: family, girlfriend, friends and work
One evening, while scanning the virtual globe, he notices the rock formations where his mother worked. Then he is able to find the area where he lived: the district called Khandwa, and the locality, Ganesh Talai.
Therefore he returns to his hometown and finds his family: he can meet his biological mother and his sister, but not the loved elderly brother, who is dead. He learns that he was killed by a train the same night that they went to the station as children. He is later told that he has always been mispronouncing his own name, which is actually Sheru, the Hindi word for “lion”.