'Lion' is one of the most heartfelt and loveliest of the films I have seen in recent times. Quietly disarming yet so fascinating, this beautifully made film is delicious as it is brave- it is an unflinchingly made, and yet compellingly mainstream portraiture of the true story of Sheru, a five-year-old not separated from hai family by a train, adopted by an Australian couple, and re-united with his mother Kamla and sister Shakila after a period of twenty-five years.
This is a consistently watchable film, but it has certainly more than that to it, given its prestigious Best Picture nomination. It's a lovingly etched out screenplay that does best wonders to the film. Yes, you might argue you weren't affected so much in the bits where Saroo is in Australia with hai warmed-up parents, but then it's hard to resist Dev Patel and Rooney Mara in their intimate sex scenes or the street sway scene they do, especially in the sweeping 'Urvasi' number. And then, there might arise the problem of Indianization of the colloquial dialogue in staunch Hindi- but it hardly matters when it's an American gaze.
I was so moved by this film and it's inherent simplicity that by its end, I was in tears, wholly consumed by its power of love and emotions. It's a super competent film and you have to get the time and watch it.
Lion is based on the real life story of a 5-year-old Indian boy who got lost at a train station, accidentally travels to Kolkata and gets separated after being adopted by and Aussie couple. How he makes every attempt to find his real family again with the help of Google Earth after 25 years is what the film is all about. Brilliant direction from debutant Aussie Garth Davis. Kudos to the casting director and every other technician on this helluva film.
The film’s story has been taken from India-born Australian businessman Saroo Brierley’s auto bio A Long Way Home – where he explains how he found his biological mother over two decades after he was accidently separated.
The film carries us through the journey of Saroo and the importance of adopting kids to showing disturbing condition of homeless and missing kids (with Kolkata as a base). These kids do need a character like Deepti Naval’s for a better life. The reunion of saroo with his mother will just tear you apart from inside. there is a reason why the title is Lion and I would not reveal that. Even though the kid is hardly 4, he is thoroughly aware of the family’s condition and is willing to take on risks to support his elder bro and at the same time smart enough to make out of people who are actually helping you and who is not.
As a kid, he was told by his elder bro not to leave the platform seat till his return but still wanders about looking for his bro. the whole track of Dev patel romance is a waste. But these are just couple of things you can easily overlook when a real life story gets captured on celluloid.
All in all, I have seen many kid actors act brilliantly in Taare zameen par, Dhanak, etc. But this kid Sunny Pawar is the pick of the lot. He is simply the best I have seen so far. he is super talented and you just cant forget the sequence where he is imitating a man eat his meal with a spoon. Dev Patel otherwise is outstanding and even Nicole Kidman. They all deliver knock out performances and award winning.
Most of the times I do talk about impact not being there in films, dialogues, background score, etc…here, with not much of stress on dialogues and a very strong undercurrent of emotions, the background score heightens the impact in each and every scene. The setting in Kolkata does remind you of Danny boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire but that is it.
This movie does remind me of Mani Ratnam’s classic war drama film Kannathil Muthamittal and its sheer coincidence that both release around the same time in Feb, though Mani’s magic came 15 years back. The tamil movie was the story of a child of Sri Lankan Tamil parents, then adopted by Indian parents and then desires to meet her biological mother in the midst of a civil war.
End of the day, it does tell you that God does exist and miracles do happen. It connects to your heart because you were a child some day and live to raise one one fine day, but when you see a saroo (there are 80,000 children in India who go missing each year) lost in an ugly world like ours, what can you do to help him?