In the film Lion, it is an unimaginable true story brought to life, and is an affecting yet nevertheless life-affirming human drama about a young Indian boy who finds himself thousands of miles from home. Separated from his family for more than twenty five years, the boy eventually attempts to find his way back home to his birth mother. This essay will talk about the hardships Saroo went through as a child and a young adult which prevented him from moving on from the past, issues such as mental health, young adulthood, and cultural conflict.
The film sheds light on the issues around adoption and the motivations of parents who adopt children from different countries and cultures to their own. Saroo’s relationship with his brother becomes increasingly strained because of not knowing what became of Guddu. Aware that Saroo’s life would be very different if he hadn’t been adopted, his memories won’t let you forget that it was simply an unthinkable event that cruelly drew them apart. Torn between two families in two different countries, landscape becomes a defining motif in Saroo’s struggle to understand who he really is. Beautiful buildings and lovely landscape shots of the Australian countryside are compared to the rugged and broken plains of India that Saroo travelled across. As he had moved from two completely different countries, india had a very traditional culture whereas australia does not emphasis traditional culture as much which created a huge disconnect between saroo determining his true cultural identity. An example is when Saroo was art friendly gathering, he saw a bowl of jalebis which triggered a past memory of him in india. The memory was him and his brother Guddu at the shop and Saroo at that time had caught the attention of a jalebi and asked his brother to buy one. When he would come across cultural food, it would bring him back memories of the times he was in india with his family. Things like these had made him feel very confused and detached as both the cultures of each country were on two very different ends of the spectrum .
Saroo had experienced early adulthood at the age of 5, experiencing such scenarios changes the way a child functions. His whole childhood was stripped away as he was given adult responsibilities which were going out and helping his mother and older brother with work. By picking up rocks every single day, that was the only source of income without it there would be no home or food on the table when there already is rarely any food and no functioning house. In the movie its shown how saroo has been given a very large amount of responsibilities to him considering his age. One being is his self care, it’s shown in the movie how he goes out with his brother to get food and the risk of getting lost or even kidnapped is very high. An example is after saroo gets lost and is trying countless times to find a place to sleep, he comes across a group of children sleeping on cardboards where and has the opportunity to get a friend and a cardboard from them to sleep on. Later that night a handful of children were abducted by older men, as saroo got up he ran as fast as he could hoping he could get away from them.
This shows how saroo was out in the night without no parental supervision and could have had came across even worse situations, and he has nobody’s help but his own. Another example from the film is, a young lady finds him on the street and takes him home. Not knowing what this stranger is capable of, saroo put his trust into her because she gave him a nice warm bath, food and other needed essentials. Not knowing what she had planned for him, a random individual shows up and saroo is told by the young woman that he’s going to help him find his home back. But as saroo caught on that he had a bad eye for him, he manages to escape from the woman running away again. As shown in these examples, saroo was given very huge responsibilities he cannot keep up with at his age.
According to various reports, about 450 million people are affected by mental, neurological and behavioural problems in their lives and among these 873,000 people die of suicide every year with mental illnesses common to all countries and people with mental disorders usually suffer from social isolation, poor quality of life. As shown in the movie saroo has all of these experiences. His living status is very poor, he has no bed to sleep on, no food, and no way of having a good hygiene. As we progress in the movie we gain knowledge that saroo was adopted by a couple that lived in australia. As saroo got older he was in a good school, had a roof over his head and was progressing in life. A friendly get- together changed his mind about his past, countlessly saroo started to have thoughts about his past and how his mother and brother had probably gone sick looking for him and not knowing where he was or if he was alive. Saroo started to have flashbacks on what had happened in his past, how he would go to the store with his brother or how he would help his mother pick rocks, these memories prevented him from moving on.
This caused him having the experience of stigma. He started to blame himself for what had happened even though he was not capable of anything at the time he had parted from his family. He started to also isolate himself from his family and his lover as he separated himself from his love because of the stress he started to experience, which was because of his family back in india. He felt as if he was way too privileged and got the chance of having a better life, while his family was still in india struggling to have a meal. He started to keep secrets about what he was doing from his foster home parents, which was that he was trying to locate his home back in india and try to reconnect with his family. As these examples are straight from the movie it is shown that saroo experienced a great amount of mental hardship as he had became an adult because of his past.
Lion is a real story told with a fascinating truth and is an important story with a huge heart that provokes basic questions around identity, happiness and cultural heritage. As the movie progresses into the end, we gain knowledge about the hardships and see everything in a very different perspective about what not only Saroo went through but millions of children go through everyday without having the chance to create a better life for themselves. Saroo eventually finds his real birth mother and later on connects not only himself but his foster family with her as well, which made a huge impact on his life as well as his mothers.