The story of Lion is taken from true events, and more specifically, from the memoir written by its real-life protagonist, Saroo Brierley, A Long Way Home. The memoir came out in 2013 and tells the story of Saroo's separation from and eventual reunion with his birth family in India. The book was met with acclaim from critics and was soon picked up by film producers who thought it would make a good movie adaptation.
In an interview with The Big Issue, Brierley described his drive to reunite with his family and his past, saying, “It was traumatic to have these memories and this feeling of uncertainty but I learned how to deal with it. Since I was a kid, I’d go to bed and have these dreams…But what was a burden for such a long time really kept these thoughts and memories alive.” This experience of memory, the mind, and the at-times-unpredictable connections between the past and present is reflected in the film Lion, for which Brierley was a consultant.
Brierley is currently working on a sequel to his first memoir, which will chronicle his search for his biological father.