Based on a true story, it is difficult to come up with more dramatic source material than what was used in the new film Lion. Saroo Brierley was just five years old when he hopped up onto a train while waiting for his brother to get back from his night job. This seemingly innocuous action would end up having a huge impact upon his entire life, as the train started moving before Saroo could jump off.
Suddenly, he finds himself about a thousand miles away from home—in the huge city of Calcutta. No one speaks his language and no one seems to want to help another poor street child. Every night, he must rely upon his finely tuned survival skills in order to avoid being kidnapped. Time and time again, he manages to avoid utter disaster before finally finding a nice man who tries to help him by taking him to the police station and officially reporting him as lost. The performance of the young actor Sunny Pawar is absolutely astonishing, as are all of the supporting performances. As he goes from an orphanage to a new home in Tasmania, the audience comes along with him for the ride—every step of the way.
Later on in the movie, actor Dev Patel takes over playing the role of Saroo. When he’s at a party one evening, he happens to meet some other people of Indian descent and then begins to reflect back upon his life before he became lost. Suddenly, he is filled with a deep sense of urgency and longing, wanting to find his birth family. Through the use of new technology—and the guidance of friends and family—Saroo is able to recapture some of what he has lost, and the journey is magnificent.