Three weeks after Kanchi Karve was buzzing with people queuing up to meet Sunny Pawar, life is back to normal for the family, after their brief encounter with fame. Neighbours say the Pawars regularly meet people who come enquiring about the eight-year-old, who attended the Oscar awards last month as part of the cast of Garth Davis’ film, Lion. At the glittering evening, Sunny was the cynosure of all eyes as host Jimmy Kimmel recreated the Lion King birth scene by lifting him in the air.
The newfound stardom, we notice, hasn’t quite changed this young boy’s demeanour since we last met him in January. “I am back to the routine. Teachers and friends are proud of me. I have to catch up on studies as well, so I have to work twice as hard,” he says, adding that he is currently prepping for his annual exams next month.
Despite the uninterrupted adulation, a Bollywood outing would have brought more fame, he argues. “My social circle isn’t well-acquainted with Hollywood. Most of them haven’t watched the film [Lion] yet. More people would have known me here had I done a Bollywood film.”
Even as Sunny seems oblivious to his achievements, the family continues to find itself entertaining guests who arrive at their doorstep every other day. A well-meaning aunt says they are selective while deciding who he interacts with.
“It [meeting everybody] could be too much for the child to handle,” she reasons. Mother Vasu does her best to keep stardom from affecting her child. “He is a simple kid. That’s his biggest quality,” she says, as she puts together a meal of dal, rice and curd. “I take pride in being strict with him when needed. I don’t want him to become snooty.”
At Hollywood’s coveted awards night, Sunny excitedly posed alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jackie Chan, among others. But back home, little has changed. “I play cricket and watch TV with my siblings. At school, I play and study. But when journalists visit me, they pamper me a lot.”