Kids on the red carpet: a spotlight on the sensational Sunny Pawar

By Cynthia Ntinunu

(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

As we digest this year’s Oscar performances, commercials and political commentary, it becomes increasingly more apparent how effective the event was between both Hollywood and your average Joe.

From candy raining down in little parachuted bundles, to “Gary from Chicago” (a tourist, Gary Alan Coe, who came in halfway through the show) taking selfies with Denzel Washington, to “Suicide Squad” winning best makeup, to the infamous Best Picture blunder, the Oscars were an emotional roller coaster.

Conversation continues to swirl about “Moonlight’s” lost moment of celebration in the miscommunication of the best picture award. Discussions are still being had about Kimmel’s possible political agenda, yet it seems people have failed to give Sunny Pawar, the lead actor of the Oscar nominated film “Lion,” requisite attention.

“Lion” is based on the true story of Saroo Brierley’s traumatic experience of falling asleep on a train as young boy and getting separated from his family for the rest of his childhood. Despite living a happy life with his adopted parents in Australia, as an adult Brierley uses Google Maps, determination and a strong belief in fate to carry him home to his birth family.

What’s most impressive about Pawar, who plays young Saroo, is that he was chosen out of about 2,000 Indian kids who auditioned for the role. And despite the fact that he spoke English in the movie, his primary language is Indian. He had to memorize any English lines phonetically with the help of a translator.

This isn’t without mentioning that Pawar is only eight-year-old child and is completely inexperienced in the acting world. Overcoming all these obstacles can silence any critic who suspects that children lack the emotional capacity to act in culturally significant films.

In fact, Pawar’s exemplary acting in “Lion” landed him a role in the upcoming film “Love Sonia,” with Demi Moore, about a young girl’s emotional journey in the sex trafficking industry.

In addition to his spectacular performance abilities, his cute-as-a-button demeanor lends an unforgettably charming presence.

It is so cute that Chrissy Teigen, a model and famous Twitter personality, couldn’t help but fangirl a little when she asked him for a hug on the red carpet. Even more admirable is Pawar’s brotherly relationship with costar Dev Patel, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in his role as adult Saroo.

It’s fair to say the new Hollywood sensation Pawar has become 2017’s Jacob Tremblay equivalent. The point being: child acting is redefining itself in an industry dominated mostly by seasoned adults.

With that, I can’t wait to see more of Pawar’s excellence on film.

Cynthia Ntinunu can be reached at [email protected].