At first glance, Sunny Pawar is just a regular eight year old from Mumbai, happy to be taking a break from his studies, talking about his love for superhero movies, and playing with his younger siblings. But that’s where the regular ends and the extraordinary begins. But that’s where the ordinary ends. For the eight-year-old has acted in the Oscar-nominated film, Lion, and has already found a global fan following. Ask him how that feels and he modestly replies, “Acha.”
Two years ago, Sunny was chosen from 2,000 kids to play Saroo. Director Garth Davis instantly connected with him and knew he’d found a star. Sunny’s favourite person on set was Dev Patel or Dev Bhaiya, followed closely by Nicole (Kidman) Aunty. The trio bonded over cricket, of course, and Sunny loved the short games they managed on the set. He taught Nicole aunty some Hindi, even though he doubts she remembers that now.
Work and play
Sunny doesn’t understand or speak English yet but that didn’t stop him from delivering a brilliant performance or interacting with the big names on sets. He shot for three months in Kolkata, Indore and Australia where he enjoyed unlimited access to chocolates and ‘lots of running around’. Promotions were fun too, including the trip to Disneyland and his Golden Globes debut. We ask him if he was nervous about his time on the stage and the answer is a very confident, “No. I practiced with Dev bhaiya and smiled on the stage; it was easy.” He didn’t realize the impact of that smile on the Internet, which went into aww-overdrive instantly. He admits to have enjoyed dressing up for the event and is happy seeing the after-show pictures. “Woh photos ghar mein hain, save karke rakhunga,” he shares.
Sunny is clearly the flavour of the season and he hopes that continues. “I want to be an actor,” he confidently declares. At eight, Sunny is the oldest of the three Pawar kids and lives with his family in Kalina in Mumbai. He’s not sure if life will go back to normal but he likes it nevertheless. Sunny has already shot his second movie; the global project Love Sonia, which boasts of names like Demi Moore, Freida Pinto, Richa Chadda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and many others. For now, it’s a mix of exam season and award season and he’s happy being busy with both.
From HT Brunch, February 5, 2017
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