Desi Rating: 4/5 Stars
Directed by: Garth Davis
Produced by: Iain Canning, Angie Fielder, Emile Sherman
Screenplay by: Luke Davies
Based on A long way home by Saroo Brierley
Starring: Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, David Wenham
Garth Davis’ Lion is based on true story of Saroo Brierley and his Journey from a lost Indian boy to finding home in Australia and then back to finding his lost Indian home as an adult. Screenplay is very well written and helps tell this tale of an ordinary man at an extra ordinary level. First half of the film revolves around a 5 year old Saroo who gets lost by taking a wrong train and ends up 1600 KMs away from his home. There is not even a single dull moment here, as we see Saroo's struggle to survive on the streets of Calcutta, where he doesn’t even understand the language, how he gets into an orphanage and finally gets adopted by an Australian couple in Tasmania. However in the beginning of second half screenplay/script starts to lose grip and film slows down a bit , here we see a grownup Saroo struggling to get in terms with haunting memories of his child hood and his urge to find his lost Indian home/family. Because of this drag you might lose connection with the film but soon film picks up the pace and ends on the same high note of first half. One thing that I loved about the movie is that it’s written from Saroo’s perspective only. We only experience what Saroo goes through, we never get to know what happens to the characters he leaves behind in his journey and this adds a very realistic feel to the narrative.
First half is the highlight of the film. Seems like Garth Davis has not left any stone unturned. His impeccable attention to details, Sunny Pawar’s outstanding performance and Greig Fraser’s camera work makes it one of the most intense cinema experience till date. Sunny Pawar’s performance deserves all accolades this year. It is wondrous how this young fellow manages to deliver complex emotions with very limited dialogues and movements. His ability to deliver such mature performance at such tender age makes him overall star of the film. I wish we could see more of his expressive eyes and cute demeanor in near future. Sunny Pawar is not alone when it comes to amazing performances this film has. In the second half, Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman also shine with their believable renditions of adult Saroo and adoptive mother Sue. The last scene between Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman where Sue explains why she adopted a brown boy from India, is at the height of emotional cinematic experiences of all times and is a great justification of their Oscar nominations this year. Rest of the cast is good but has very limited share which restricts their performances to cameo level only.
Overall Lion is a great achievement for first time director Garth Davis and deserves the best picture Oscar for which it is already nominated.
Lion is a very well written, directed and performed, heavy on emotions drama which will stir the humanity in you. I know Lion is not in UAE cinemas now but you can still catch it on Elife by Etisalat for a price of 30 Dirhams. It is advised to keep a tissue box handy, I go with 4 stars