Saroo Brierley’s life story inspires film Lion


Saroo and Sue Brierley, whose story has inspired both a book and a movie.
Saroo and Sue Brierley, whose story has inspired both a book and a movie.

SAROO Brierley is no stranger to travel.

His astonishing life story is taking the world by storm after a successful book A Long Way Home and now multiple award-nominated film Lion, which chronicles his separation from his family during a 1600km journey by train as a five-year-old from his home town in India, east to Calcutta where he lived on the streets.

Then there was the almost 10,000km to Tasmania after he was adopted by Sue and John Brierley, and more recently the thousands of kilometres more throughout Australia promoting the book and film.

There are also the 15 trips back to India to visit his birth mother after he tracked her down in 2008 using Google Earth and vivid memories of his old home.

In Perth, where adoptive mother Sue and Saroo answered questions at sold-out preview sessions, he told Community Newspaper Group it was just the beginning for him.

“For me this is just the start,” he said. “I have so much on. It’s all preliminary at the moment, but I’m writing a prequel book.”

For Mrs Brierley, touring Australia is an opportunity to get people thinking about adoption.

“(Adoption) got to a point that it was more common (in the 1980s) than it is today,” she said. “I think there were only four children adopted into WA last year, it has just virtually ground to a halt.

“And that’s part of the motivation for me to go on this tour because Australia needs to start thinking about adoption again.

“It’s too easy to get bogged down in other issues of the time. We need to talk less about Trump and more about adoption for kids who need a family.”

Mrs Brierley said the film-making experience did offer her the opportunity to spend time with big names and witness a former US president cry.

“We went to New York for the US premiere of the film and the people were lovely,” she said. “They wanted to know about it, they were fascinated by the story and eager to see it.

“When we saw the screening, we had Bill Clinton sitting behind us with (executive producer) Harvey Weinstein and they were both sniffling away.”

While Saroo will continue to be in the spotlight with upcoming opportunities, his adoptive mother is looking forward to getting back to a “normal” life after being thrust on to the world stage.

“I can see it winding down for me (after this tour),” she said.

“I can’t see that I would take up lobbying for adoption again, I used to do that in years past.

“I’m thinking that I will get back to a normal life so I can continue on at my home with my garden, dog, painting and just reading and things that I used to enjoy before my life went mad.”