Cast: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Priyanka Bose
Director: Garth Davis
There is love for family and then there is Google map. Emotions aided by technology driven by primeval determination. At thirty and twenty five years later after him getting lost, his feelings for his true roots besiege him and drive him state of mental discomfort. He has the support of his memories, from quarter of a decade ago. He has unwavering determination which takes him to Google Earth.
His mission is clear: Find his lost family and try to return to his first home so what if he is safely and happily living a clustered life now.
1980’s. Place Khandwa. Vagabond brothers Saroo and Guddu. Brothers rob coal off a train sell them to buy food. Saroo a five year old separated from his brother and lost, sleeps at railway station wandering into a stationary passenger train which has taken him thousands of miles across India and in doing so away, very far away from Khandwa his home, identity and family. He wakes up to loneliness, reaches alone in Kolkata, no one he knows, no food, no family and a huge language barrier.
This forced orphan has no support and in a vast country like India where social schemes and systems are slower or non-existent a quick, getaway in terms of adoption is the only best chance for a future sometimes. The loving foster parents from Tasmania, played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham, do not attempt to reinvent the child’s past. They just let him be and he grows up with fading memories of his childhood.
Thousands of miles apart the brothers and years separate their lives and backgrounds now. This is one of those things that happen by twist of destiny or plain mistake and the script by the Australian screenwriter Luke Davies lends intense life and credibility through his understanding of feelings of the small boy plucked from his mother (Priyanka Bose) and brother who have no clue to his whereabouts. The director falls back on a 2012 memoir A Long Way Home by a grown Saroo Brierley(Dev Patel).
Suddenly one day he has visions of his past through a plate of sweetmeats , then there are more places and landmarks that come to his mind. He decides to investigate, knowing very well that his current life is comfortable with access to good food, education and a career in Australia. But he wants to know what happened and he has carried the memories of his past like a corpse not buried. He does not want closure, he wants to know. He wants to know what has happened of his family. He has two families in two different parts of the world. He is torn between the life earlier and now and this pain is something that is vividly on display across the actors’ performance and face as he gives his career best and strongest till date. Dev is hurting inspite of the presence of his girlfriend Rooney Mara.
His mother Sue(Nicole Kidman) has a supportive performance filled with chocking love and pride, worth a million applause, nurturing the relation and the film. She is so motherly in the movie, we all have one such mother’s don’t we in varying shades? There is no competition between the mothers and no discussion of why? It has happened so..what next?
The movie is spaced beautifully and screenwriter has not made it dramatic. It is a story passionately told, no judgements and a breathtaking debut for director Garth Davis. When a storyboarding of this level of emotions happen there has to be restraint and an intense understanding of the fact that in today’s world of blurring line between human driven reality and technology driven fact, tapping our innermost natural reservoir of emotional strength is the only way ahead. Yes, aid from Google Earth maps help. Recommended watch for a child heartfelt attempt to meet his lost mother. Watch it for Sunny Pawar, in his own personal global journey and for Dev Patel in whom we have found another top class actor given the right conditions.