Saroo Brierley on Lion’s Oscar nomination: The moment of truth is when Dev wins it
Author Saroo Brierley is the inspiration behind the 2017 Oscar-nominated movie, Lion. But he hasn’t called up actor Dev Patel yet, who essayed the lead role in the film. “I didn’t think there was any sort of necessity to ring him up and congratulate him. It’s just a nomination,” says Brierley, the Indian-born Australian writer.
The film is based on his autobiographical book, A Long Way Home. He was a street child, who was separated from his family at a railway station in Kolkata. He was later adopted by an Australian couple. “Let’s not try and be jubilant. It’s not like clap-clap we have done it. Seeing is believing and the moment of truth is when he gets the merit of achievement, that’s when we should celebrate,” he explains.
Saroo says he was surprised when he got to know that a film is being made on his life. “But the realisation came much later,” he says, adding that he paid extra attention to the script. “My mum and I put notes, read it from the start to the end, and discussed at each stage what needed to be changed. We did this with our consultants. I didn’t even know if there was a need for a scriptwriter after all this.”
He says another condition that he had put right in the beginning was: “Making sure that the film is shot in Hobart, Tasmania, because it’s a picturesque country. And the makers said they would love to shoot in Tasmania,” shares Saroo, who was brought up in Tasmania after he migrated from India.
From his childhood days, he recalls the time when he watched Ramayana on TV. “We were allowed to come to these people’s house (in neighbourhood) and watch it. That was my first TV experience. We all sat down as kids and watched it. I, being the most unprivileged among the lot.”
Ask him to relate his life to a Hindi film, the song Lambi Judaai comes to his mind. “The Hindi film that connects with my life story the most is the movie Hero – two brothers being lost and sort of coming back. And that particular song by Reshma, Lambi Judaai… has been in my memory for far too long. I heard it before coming to Australia. It took me a long time to find the movie and the song,” he replies.
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