Lion- The Story of Saroo
In 1986, Saroo, a five-year-old boy, lives with his older brother Guddu, his mother and his younger sister in Khandwa, India. Guddu and Saroo steal coal from trains to trade for milk and food. One day, Saroo follows his brother to a job and they arrive at a nearby train station, where Saroo decides to stay back and take a nap. Guddu tries to wake him up, but Saroo is too tired. When Guddu does not return, Saroo searches for him and goes on a train, thinking Guddu is on the train. He falls asleep again in one of the compartments, and wakes up to find the train moving.
After a number of days, it arrives in faraway Calcutta, where he does not understand the local Bengali language. He stands at a ticket counter and tries to buy a ticket home. But the person at the counter does not know the name of his village, because Sarroo can’t remember the name and says it incorrectly. He spends the night in the train station with some street children. But then he suddenly wakes up and starts running away when a group of men try to kidnap the street children.
Saroo continues to wander around the city before coming across Noor, a friendly woman who brings him back to her apartment. She tells Saroo that a man named Rama will help him find his way home. Saroo feels that Noor and Rama have bad intentions and don’t really want to help him. So he runs away, and escapes Noor when she runs after him. After two months of living on the street near the Howrah Bridge, a young man sees Saroo and takes him to the police. Because they can’t find his family, they put him in an orphanage.
Three months later, Saroo meets Mrs. Sood at the orphanage. She tells him she wrote about him in a number of newspapers, trying to find his family, but no one answered back. She then tells him that an Australian couple wants to adopt him. She begins to teach Saroo English and he moves to Hobart, Tasmania in 1987, under the care of Sue and John Brierley. He slowly starts to settle in. A year later, they adopt another boy, Mantosh, who has trouble getting used to his new home and gets really angry at times.
Twenty years later, Saroo, now a young man, moves to Melbourne to study hotel management. He starts a relationship with Lucy, an American student. During a meal with some Indian friends at their home, he comes across jalebi, a kind of sweet delicacy he remembers from the time when he was a child. He tells everyone that he is adopted and that he doesn’t know anything about his Indian family. His friends tell him he should use Google Earth to search for his hometown in India. Saroo begins his search and becomes obsessed with it. Over time he ends the relationship with Lucy, thinking about what his family must have gone through when he was missing.
END OF THE STORY
Saroo visits his mother Sue because she is in bad health. He finds out that she could have babies of her own, but she chose to help others in need by adopting children from India. She believed that there were already too many people on Earth. Saroo spends a long time searching for his hometown. One evening, while using Google Earth, he notices the rock formations where his mother worked. He then finds the area where he lived. He tells his adoptive mother about his search, and she supports him.
Saroo returns to his hometown, where he has an emotional reunion with his biological mother and sister. He learns that Guddu is dead. Guddu was killed by a train the same night that they went to the station as children. Saroo’s mother never gave up hope and believed that one day her missing son would return. She never moved away from the village, hoping to see him there one day. The movie ends with captions about the real Saroo’s return to India in February 2012. We see photos of the real Australian family, as well as footage of Saroo introducing Sue to his biological mother in India, who deeply appreciates Sue’s care for her son. Saroo later learned that he always said his own name incorrectly. It was actually Sheru,, a Hindi word meaning “lion”.