When I first watched the Dev Patel starrer movie, I was taken aback by both its incredible real life storyline and its immense emotional impact. Saroo Brierly was adopted from India by his Australian parents and his narrative, originally documented in his book with Larry Buttrose- A Long Way Home, is nothing short of a miracle.
The beginning of the film displays a wonderful bond of love, care and sacrifice between a five year old boy, Saroo(portrayed by Sunny Pawar), his elder brother and his mother(portrayed by Priyanka Bose). Saroo, in his very young age, comprehends the tough times that his family is going through and acquires an astonishing role of responsibility. The atmosphere of protective brotherly love soon turns into one of melancholy as Saroo is separated from his brother, and finds himself on a decommissioned train bound to travel a hundred kilometres away to Kolkata. Saroo is desperate, but still unable to realise what is happening. With his deep set eyes, bare foot and innocent nature , Saroo is on his own in a dark neighbourhood of Kolkata. The innocent child has to confront child abductors and a lecherous couple, and at one moment scavenges for food along with dogs from dustbins before he finally makes his way into an orphanage. The portrayal of his pitiful state, a representation of thousands of orphans in developing countries like India, in the movie is praiseworthy. Following his adoption by an Australian couple, we are taken to the Land Down Under where the movie shows his raising up and subsequent quest for his blood mother which is astoundingly successful.
Emotions of Saroo and his family are so wonderfully portrayed by the actors that they leave their audience overcharged. One of the standout features of the film, produced by Australian commercial director Garth Davis, is that it successfully showcases the plight of abandoned Indian children through the difficulties that 5 year old Saroo went through in metropolitan Kolkata in the 1986. The dark acts of poverty, lack of help for children, child abduction and sex slavery have lived on till the present day in India and call for an addressing.
The movie did have some drawbacks as it failed to reflect much on the state of Saroo’s family after his disappearance, especially the emotions of his loving mother. It should have delved deeper than a mere narrative by Saroo Brierley and explored the story from the perspective of his biological mother as well. Yet, on an overall, I found the movie emotionally arousing and its storyline the most distinctive feature.