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Lion child star Sunny Pawar arrives in US for promotions

The child actor, who was supposed to visit the country for the film’s premiere and promotion, had his US visa application rejected initially.

Dev Patel with child actor Sunny Pawar

Sonal Pandya

Hollywood film Lion’s child star, Sunny Pawar, who was earlier denied a US visa along with his father, was allowed to enter the country. Pawar made a grand entrance at the Academy Awards’ 8th annual Governors Awards where action star Jackie Chan, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) editor Anne V Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster who discovered John Travolta and Christopher Reeve and documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman were all honoured at the star-studded gala.

Pawar landed in Los Angeles just hours before the event. Producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Dev Patel were both vocal in trying to get the young star to Hollywood. Reportedly, Weinstein told the 8-year-old, “I’m the guy who got you on the plane.”

Directed by Garth Davis, Pawar made his film debut playing the young Saroo who gets lost at a railway station and is later adopted by an Australian couple. Patel plays the adult Saroo in Lion, which is already gaining strong Oscar buzz in the months leading up the biggest awards show in Hollywood.

The Governors Awards, in recent years, has become one of the key stops in the critical Oscar campaign for a film. Both Nicole Kidman who plays Saroo’s adopted mother and Priyanka Bose who plays Saroo’s biological mother were on hand to meet the press and industry members at the event. Both Patel and Pawar were all smiles on the red carpet and Pawar was taken around by Kidman as well.

The Weinstein Company is hoping Lion will land several Oscar nominations including Best Picture and supporting nominations for stars Patel and Kidman. Indian actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Deepti Naval also appear in the film in small roles.