INDIA ABROAD February 17, 2017 32 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
By Arundhuti Banerjee
he heart-warming, real-life story of Indian-Australian businessman
Saroo Brierley is being
through the film "Lion,"
that has been winning awards
and has earned several Oscar and
BAFTA nominations. He says the
success of the homecoming story
is unimaginable and wants it to
bring hope to those who may be
going through what he did.
"I am humbled and touched
that the film has been chosen for
six Oscar nominations. I never
imagined my story would get
that (an Oscar nomination),"
"For me, more than winning
awards, I want the film to penetrate as much as it can for those
kids and parents who are going
through the same situation. I
want those kids to be motivated
and inspired, who are vulnerable,
not knowing where they are
coming from, who their parents
are," he added.
Born in Madhya Pradesh,
Saroo was separated from his
poor family — mother, two brothers and sister — and was adopted
by an Australian couple from a
Kolkata orphanage. While his
Australian parents gave him all
the love and privilege to lead a
good life, he kept on searching
for his birth mother. Finally,
using Google Earth, he met her at
Khandwa after 25 years.
Asked what made him persist
with the search, Saroo said: "I
think the love and bonding I
share with my real family, affection of my mother, love and
bonding with siblings, drove me
to continue the search. I used to
think that my brother Guddu is
still screaming my name."
However, once he was taken
to Australia, he gradually got
accustomed to Western culture
and forgot his native language
"You see, I was just five years
old then (when I got separated
from my biological family), and
had never been to school as we
were living in a slum and my
mother had no money to send us
to school. So, my vocabulary was
"When I went to school, in the
beginning, for some time I did
not understand the language, but
slowly I adapted. I was a happy
child then," recalled Saroo.
"I was quite popular in my
school as I was good in sports. I
played a lot of games and, as a
kid, I never lived in a shelter.
Rather, I openly mingled with
other kids. So I was quite a normal child in school and never
faced any racism."
Once he met his birth mother
after 25 years, he wrote a book,
"A Long Way Home", and then
director Garth Davis made the
film "Lion" based on the story.
When asked about the transformation of the story from his
memories in the book to film,
Saroo said: "I relived those days
through the film all over again."
Born with a Muslim name
Sheru Munshi Khan that changed
to Saroo Brierley after his adoption, he says he does not follow
"I was never introduced to any
religion from my childhood.
Later, when I was adopted, since
my Australian parents were not
religious, I did not follow any
religion. Nevertheless, I believe
in the power of the universe. I
am thankful to the universe that
curved my path to an incredible
journey of my life. Without that
positive energy (of the universe),
I would not be still around,"
‘Never Imagined My
Story Would Be an
Saroo Brierley, whose life “Lion” depicts, hopes the film
will inspire children who are also separated from parents
From left, Sue Brierley, Nicole Kidman, Priyanka Bose, Sunny Pawar, front, Saroo Brierley and Dev Patel attend the premiere
of "Lion" at the Museum of Modern Art on Nov. 16, 2016, in New York.