Share

Adoption odyssey’Lion’ roars at the Toronto film fest

Adapted from Saroo Brierley’s autobiography “A Long Way Home,” the film stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, who is also appearing at the festival in “Una” and “The Secret Scripture.”

It sees Saroo, a precocious 5-year-old who follows his older brother around everywhere, become separated from him one night on a train platform in their native Madhya Pradesh.

Soon, Saroo finds himself nearly a thousand miles away in Calcutta, where he does not speak the language.

There, he is picked up off the streets and placed in a government orphanage before being sent to Australia for adoption.

In his 20s, living in Tasmania, Saroo starts to wonder what happened to his brother and birth mother, and so begins an obsessive search.

He scours satellite imagery and online maps to try to locate his hometown, matching landmarks to childhood memories.

But delving into the past threatens the present, and he becomes adrift.

“He had his past family and his present family and when Saroo starts to search and becomes obsessed, you start to see a tug-o-war between his choices: choosing the past you sacrifice the present,” Davis said.

The film marks Patel’s return to the Canadian city that launched his film career.

Director Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” which starred Patel as a teenager from the slums of Mumbai accused of cheating on a television game show, won the Toronto film festival audience prize for best picture in 2008 before going on to win an Oscar.

“I rocked up here with ‘Slumdog’ in my school shoes and a borrowed suit and it’s good to be back here with a bit of facial hair with this (film),” Patel told a press conference.