Page to Screen: Lion
The movie Lion is based on Saroo Brierley’s book A Long Way Home about his journey to find his birth mother. Saroo was born in India. When he was five-years old, he accidently got lost on a train and ended up 1500 miles from home. He lived on the streets for weeks until he was eventually taken to an orphanage and adopted by an Australian couple. Although Saroo loved his adoptive parents, he was curious about his original home country and his biological mother. He set upon a very long, tedious process of looking for the town where his birth mother lived using Google Earth.
Dev Patel, of Slum Dog Millionaire fame, plays Saroo. He looks so mature and different in this movie that I almost forgot it was him while watching it. He becomes Saroo – Australian accent and everything. However, the real star of this movie is Sunny Pawar, who plays Saroo at five-years old. The emotion that he was able to portray was amazing. Even more amazing is that although Sunny doesn’t speak English and the movie’s director doesn’t speak Hindi, they communicated well enough for Sunny to have delivered an extraordinary performance.
It’s been a few years since I read A Long Way Home. I chose not to re-read it before I saw the movie so I can’t speak in detail about the adaptation to screen but in general, it was a faithful one. It seemed to me like some incidents were dramatized more for the movie which makes sense. It wouldn’t have been very exciting to just watch him sit at his computer using Google Earth. Reading about that part of his story was interesting because I was reading about his thoughts at the same time.
Lion was a great adaptation and great movie all on its own. Saroo’s journey is incredible and I enjoyed revisiting it by seeing this movie. I would love it if little Sunny gets nominated for an Oscar!