The film “Lion” (2016): Returning home

Approximate reading time: 15 min.
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Film Classification: R

The review reveals plot specialities of the film.

The plot of the film is based on a real life story. This is the story about a boy named Saroo, who got lost at the age of five. Happened to be many kilometers away from home and his family in an unfamiliar and extremely unfriendly city, the boy sets forth in a long way of searching for his mother. What rubs salt in the wound is the fact that in the city, where he appeared to be, nobody speaks Hindi.

About the system

The first thing a five-year-old boy faces – is a ruthless system, a society, which does not know any compassion, nor pity. In near a railway station counters he tries to explain, where his home is, that he wants to come back to his mother, asks for help. But adult passengers, wishful to make the plane, do not even want to listen to him – they simply send him away.

Hanging around concrete jungle the boy runs against the same band of homeless, street children. He attaches himself to them, but on the first joint overnight a police raid arranges on them. The children get caught by the police. Saroo succeeds to escape.

film lev 2017 1 The film Lion (2016): Returning home

Wandering around houses and people, the boy meets a one very kind woman, who understands Hindu. She addressed amicably towards Saroo: invited him home, fed him, washed and put to sleep. She told him that a man named Rama will come and help him as he helps the homeless. The next day Rama had really come, he friendly talked to the boy, but behaved slightly strangely: touched him, stroked, for some purpose asked him to lie nearby.

Wild, but pure heart of the street boy got the scent of danger. He understood, that he had been tried to be taken the most valuable that he has left – his freedom. He runs away from this kind woman, who sheltered him, realizing that she – is not what she pretends to be, that her concern about the homeless boy grinds some own axes.

After some time of pointless wandering, thanks to the help of one kind guy, Saroo runs into police. The police, sorting out the situation, send the boy into the orphanage, as he doesn’t know the exact name of the district, where his village is. Further advertisements with the boy’s photo have been placed in magazines with a notification of a loss in hopes that parents will find him in such a way.

In the orphanage things happen to be not as good and sweet as it wanted to be. The children are occasionally been taken somewhere, even though there is food, warm bed, a roof over the warm corner, and this is far better than sleeping on a carton in an underground walkway.

Once in the orphanage appears one woman. She meets Saroo and tells him that far away in Australia there is a family, which wants to adopt him. She gives him a photo of this married couple and advises him to make the right choice, since there is no future for him in the orphanage.

Finally, Saroo becomes an adoptive child in a family from Australia.

film lev 2017 2 The film Lion (2016): Returning home

Therefore, all this introductory part of the story of the boy named Saroo demonstrates a certain system of a social organization, where homeless, street children have no place in. The only thing this society can offer to them – is an orphanage, where they will, probably, turn into real criminals. All situations and troubles, which Saroo faced, – are the result of formed social relationships, where people simply do not care about each other, and, moreover, about other children.

Critical time

Saroo’s mother has constantly lost herself at work – she carried rocks and was working for peanuts. Mainly, the boy spent time with his older brother. Ones they stole coal from the passing by railroad train. The coal they exchanged on two bottles of milk, which they shared with their mother and younger sister.

When Saroo with his brother exchanged coal at the market, Saroo saw as Jalebi is being cooked – a sweet Indian meal – of course, he’d wanted to taste it. He told his older brother this, on which he had answered: “Someday I will buy you Jalebi”. Saroo added: “We will buy the whole shop”.

So Saroo has grown up. He has already completely forgotten his mother language Hindu, and as it seemed forever has erased from his memory his hard childhood. He has future plans, has a wish to learn and achieve a success. He goes to Melbourne in order to study hospitality management. On a question, why he wants to do this, he replies simply and clearly: “I want to manage hotels and stuff a pocketful of money”.

However, he replies reluctantly on questions considering his past: where is he from, where he was born and grew. It seems that he avoids his past, tries not to rake it up, wants to forget it as a bad dream, which happened to him.

The moment with food, when Saroo can’t eat by hands traditional Indian food and finally takes a fork, means that he changed completely. Now he does not identify himself with his motherland. He got a good upbringing and education and has become a real European.

But it’s not so easy to run away from the past. Once at the friends’ party Saroo comes to the kitchen and notices there a plate with Jalebi. The plate with a sweet meal simply lies on the table; he can reach a hand and take as much as he wants. Jalebi now is not just a child’s dream, is a bright experience, which excites hard memories, dips Saroo up to the hilt in the past. He again sees himself little, beside him stands his older brother. He watches as the sweets, so wanted and which he can’t allow to himself, are being cooked.

In this moment the whole depth of contrast and clash of two worlds is sensed, of two lives, which Saroo had time to live: one – is a life of a poor in the ghetto of Calcutta without the hope for a future and a satisfied existence, another – a life in an Australian family with daring plans and dreams that are destined to come true.

Now Saroo has grown up and he understands that there in the past he left not only his poor, dismal life, but also his family. Somewhere in a one godforsaken mother village, hopefully, there is his mother, who thinks, that her son is dead. Saroo feels the necessity to find her and tell that he is safe and sound, and everything is fine with him. He simply has no right to act differently. Besides, he dreams to meet his brother, whom the last time he saw at this unfortunate platform, which defined his future fate.

film lev 2017 3 The film Lion (2016): Returning home

Friends suggest Saroo, from where he needs to start his searches. It is needed to know the speed of trains by that time. Then, knowing an approximate time, which Saroo spend in the train, and the city, where he arrived as a result, he may calculate the radius of circle. In about this circle will his home village being located.

From the special peculiarities of his home village Saroo only remembers a water tower near the platform. And he starts searching…

Foster parents

The foster mother and father of Saroo have appeared really worthy people. They accept the boy as their own child. Of course, counting on how much the homeless boy had to survive, he opens to his new parents not nearly at once. But they are patient and are ready to wait.

In the end kindness and care, which seeming to be strangers show to him, soften the heard of the boy, alloy fears.

The foster parents adopt not only Saroo, but also another boy, far more problem. They fail to succeed in their second son on an actual pass. When grew up he starts taking drugs. However, in their behavior towards the second son, in spite all these, is read love and care. The parents only blame themselves that they have not managed to make a beggar and hooligan a real and orderly man. They are ready to forgive him a hundred times if only he will stay in their life. They do not expect from him any gratitude. They are glad that they had this opportunity – to raise this child.

Saroo hides his searches of native village from his foster parents; he understands that, on the first place, he searches not the place, where he lived, but his relatives: he is looking for his mother and his blood brother. He is torn between the blood mother and the foster, because he does not know, how to act. What will in this case be correct? According to him, this will afflict his foster mother. He does not want to seem unthankful towards his foster parents, since they had given him so much.

When he tells his foster mother that he has found his village, she replies him: “Saroo, I hope, she is still there. She should see how beautiful you have become”. So the foster mother does not show towards his son any proprietary position, she does not announce him, that he should forget his blood mother, does not show disrespect to him, on the contrary, as any mother she wishes her son (though not blood) happiness, that’s why lets him go, sincerely wishing that he will find his blood mother.

In this meaning the image of the foster parents in this movie – is an ideal, to which not only foster parents should strive, but also all parents in general, since they demonstrate the main parental quality – love without return. They are ready to give themselves completely, not waiting anything in return, not claiming the same, if only their children are happy.

Returning home

So here is the sacred point on the map. Rivers, mountains, poor houses contours, which are barely seen on pictures from satellite, already draw in his memory pictures from the past, those flickering moments of careless child life, despite all hardships. Saroo gets under way…

Happened to be in a native land, he with ease finds familiar streets, paths, turns, houses – since these are the brightest and important memories of his childhood, he knows every corner. And now in front of him is a doorway of his house, but there aren’t already his relatives. The hope is starting to dwindle.

He tells about his problem to one of the local citizens, shows his childhood photo, tells that he got lost many years ago. The local at first leaves somewhere, then, coming back, takes Saroo with him. The expectation presses, but hope again rises inside.

Who is it in the distance? What familiar silhouette? Grey hair, same smile, and same loving eyes looking at him. He has found his mother. But together with a great joy, a grief touches his soul: his brother is no more, he died the same day, when left Saroo on the platform, falling into the train. But now Saroo has a grown up sister.

film lev 2017 4 The film Lion (2016): Returning home

The real mother of Saroo refused to leave this village, believing, that her son is alive and will come back someday. She has been waiting for twenty five years…


Another adopted son of the Australian couple in the end becomes a drug-addict. We are not being shown, as he takes drugs. There are alcohol scenes in the movie.






Love does not have a belonging. Those one, who is ready to love and give oneself to other people, does not care, which color, race, nationality and relationship they are, friends or foes. The main thing – is love, only it is able to change this world and make it really better.

Oleg Searching

Translated by Daria Egorova

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Film Classification: R
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