Mumbai slumkid and ‘Lion’ star Sunny Pawar basked in the limelight at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony where he won accolades from the audience having some of the world’s greatest actors after re-enacting a scene from ‘The Lion King’ with host Jimmy Kimmel. The seven-year-old was selected from 2,000 children across schools in India to play the role of the young Saroo Brierley.
A Class 3 student of the Air India Model School where he is good in studies, Sunny and his younger brother and sister, live with parents Dilip Pawar, a former government office sweeper, and home-maker mother Vasu, in a slum in Kalina in the western suburbs, near the airport.
Despite his humble background, Sunny zoomed through auditioning rounds in Mumbai and Pune to land a plum role in the blockbuster Hollywood biographical film ‘Lion’, sources close to his family and the production house said.
“Sunny was selected from around 2,000 talented children in a hunt in schools all over India, culminating in the final auditions held in Mumbai and Pune some one-and-half year ago. He fitted the role perfectly,” Sunny is cast in the role of a young Saroo Brierley, who was stranded in a train which catapulted him hundreds of kms away from home to busy Kolkata. There, he ekes out an existence on the footpaths, before a young Australian couple adopts him. The elder version of Saroo was played by Dev Patel in the film.
Though he could barely speak English, Sunny’s bubbly, charismatic presence more than made up the communication shortcomings, with the cooperation of the entire film crew.
“Film director, Garth Davis had to put in a lot of efforts with Sunny during the shooting in India and Australia. For instance, he used sign language to make Sunny understand the dialogues, enact the sad or emotional scenes,” said the source.
The first half of the film, mostly hogged by the little Sunny, is in Hindi and he delivered the dialogues with ease and finesse.
But on the sets – his shooting schedules spanned over three months in Kolkata and Madhya Pradesh in India, and Melbourne, Tasmania in Australia – he was accorded ordinary treatment.happy wheels
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