The main person the movie Lion focuses on is Saroo Brierley, who was born in the Ganesh Talai neighborhood of Khandwa in India in 1986. He lived there with his older brother Guddu and his mother until he was the five years old. Saroo and his brother have a special relationship and because of that they steal coal from freight trains in order to provide food for their family. One day when Saroo was five, Guddu and him were at a train station stealing coal and Saroo was so tired that he took a nap. Guddu tries to wake him but he does not wake up, when Saroo does finally wake up he boards the train that he assumes his brother is on and he falls asleep yet again. When he wakes up the train is moving and after several days it arrives in Calcutta; where Saroo does not know the language and he tries to tell the people where he is from, but they do not recognize the place he tells them, which is “Genestalay.” After this Saroo lives on streets for awhile until he meets Noor and Rama who tell him they can help him find his way back home, but he does not believe them, so he runs away back onto the streets. After some time living on the streets again, he is taken to the police and they try and trace his family, but they end up not being able to find anything, so they place him in an orphanage. He is at the orphanage for a few months when he meets Mrs. Sood, who tells him that she had found an Australian couple who was interested in adopting him. After learning some broken English, Saroo moves to Hobart, Tasmania in 1987 with his adopted parents Sue and John Brierley. The adjustment to this new life is tough for Saroo, but not nearly as tough as his adopted brother Mantosh who is another Indian kid the Brierley’s adopted about a year after Saroo. Mantosh is very unstable at times and it can lead to him having fits of rage and self-harm by hitting himself on the head rapidly. Twenty years later Saroo decides he wants to go to Melbourne to study hotel management, and within a few weeks he starts dating a woman named Lucy, who is an American student studying in the same courses as Saroo. One-night Lucy and he are having a dinner with some Indian friends and Saroo finds a dish that brings back memories of his childhood and it leaves him visibly shaken. So, he decides to tell his friends and Lucy about everything that happened in his childhood, this is when one of the friends suggest that Saroo use Google Earth to find his home town and this is what leads Saroo to becoming obsessed with finding his home. This causes tension between Lucy and him because she feels like she is losing him and also because she wants him to tell his adopted parents, but he does not want to do that because he believes this will make them think he doesn’t love them. Finally, one day he is having a conversation with his adoptive mother, whose health was getting worse, and she tells him that the reason she adopted Saroo and Mantosh wasn’t because she couldn’t have her own kids like Saroo believed, but because her and her husband believed there were already too many people in the world and they wanted to help people who were lost like Saroo. One night after this conversation Saroo finds his hometown on Google Earth and with the support of his adoptive mother he returns to his hometown. While there he reunites with his birth mother and his younger sister, and also learning that Guddu was hit by a train and died the same night that Saroo fell asleep on the train. The movie ends with photos of the real Saroo and his adoptive family, as well as a video of him introducing his adoptive mother to his birth mother.
Throughout Saroo’s story he faces many challenges whether it be not knowing where he is from or trying to explain to the people in his life what he has gone through and continues to go through. One of Saroo’s goals is go to Melbourne and study hotel management, which he is successful at for a while until the incident with the dish at the party and then he becomes obsessed with figured out where he is from and finding his birth family. Another challenge that he faces is the fact that his girlfriend Lucy becomes exhausted with his constant search for his family, and she decides that she can’t be with him until he finds himself first. Eventually, he successfully finds his birth family as stated above, and he reunites with Lucy afterwards which also contributes to his happiness after finding his birth family. Overall, I think Saroo overcame his challenges and accomplished the goals that he wanted to achieve, which lead him to be loved by both his families and for him to live a much happier life.
When comparing Saroo’s life experiences to that of an American there are quite a few differences. First of all, in the United States a five-year-old kid would more than likely not have to steal in order to survive, especially having to steal coal from trains which basically doesn’t exist anymore in the U.S. Also, because India is so large and diverse, when Saroo travels thousands of miles from home the native language is different, and he is left to fend for himself on the streets. This would never happen in American because no matter how far away you are from home, the people still speak English and there are systems in place in order to return the children to their parents quickly. Another thing we see when comparing Saroo’s life to American’s is shown in his relationship with Lucy because she doesn’t understand why it’s so important to him to find his birth family even though he has a loving and supportive adoptive family. I believe this has to do with the cultural differences between India and America, and just the fact that she has only had one family her whole life which is typically in America but many kids in India are separated from their birth families.
Overall, I found Saroo’s story to be inspirational because after all he went through with being separated from his birth family, and with all the challenges of being a kid completely alone in a brand-new environment he still ended up being successful in life. And finally, this movie overall was great at depicting the country of India and some of the struggles that people there go through on a daily basis that can last for years, such as was the case for Saroo and his family.


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