How Old is Sunny Pawar? Net Worth, Facts About The Lion Actor

Sunny Pawar
image source
Profile summary of Sunny Pawar
  • Name: Sunny Pawar
  • Date of birth: 2008
  • Age: 16
  • Place of birth: Mumbai, India
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Education: Air India Modern School, Mumbai (third standard)
  • Parents: Dilip Pawar (father) and Vasu Dilip Pawar (mother)
  • Height: 4′ 8″ (1.42 m)
  • Occupation: Actor
  • Years active: 2016 to date
  • Net worth: NA

Sunny Pawar is an Indian actor known for his outstanding performance in the movie titled Lion. Straight out of a slum in Kunchi Kurve Nagar (Mumbai), Pawar rode on the wings of his innate talent to the spotlight. Through his role as the younger Saroo Brierley in Garth Davis’ film Lion (2016), the young Indian boy stole the show from top Hollywood stars. He was the center of attention following the movie’s release, despite the fact that he starred with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Dave Patel, and Rooney Mara, who are recognized top shots in the industry. A look at Pawar’s journey from the slum kid he was to the limelight is worth your while.

The Lion actor is from Mumbai

From very humble beginnings, Sunny Pawar and his entire family probably never imagined being the center of attention in the world or attending the Oscars one day. The young lad was born in 2008, in Mumbai, India. His parents have been identified as Dilip Pawar (father) and Vasu Dilip Pawar (mother) who worked as a government office sweeper and homemaker respectively. He lives with his family in the slum of Kunchi Kurve Nagar, with a brother and a sister. Pawar is the first child of his parents.

Growing up, Pawar loved watching movies and playing games, which must have fueled his passion to be in one of the movies one day. He attended Air India Modern School, Mumbai, where he acquired his standard education. Pawar lived in his hometown all his life without dreaming of leaving the shores of India. However, all of that changed when he landed the role of Saroo in Lion.

Sunny Pawar was 5 years old when he auditioned for the role of Saroo

Sunny Pawar

Sunny Pawar as Saroo in Lion

Beating more than 2000 other aspiring actors, Sunny Pawar clinched the role of Saroo Brierley and to date, filmmakers and audiences attest to the fact that they made the right choice. They couldn’t have made a better choice than the little Sunny from the slum. He was just a five-year-old schoolboy when he auditioned for the role and had to pass through auditioning rounds in Mumbai and Pune before it clicked. Thanks to his supportive father who took him around audition venues to make sure he gets his shot.

The search for the right actor to depict the role of Saroo was not an easy one as casting director Kirsty McGregor and the film’s director Garth Davis had to visit several schools before they found the right person. The kind of emotions the young actor needed to convey in his role was such that must be aced and this is not an ordinary feat to pull off. According to Davis, the film’s director, the moment young Pawar walked into the audition room he knew they found their boy and once the cameras started rolling, it was like watching the movie itself. He delivered what the directors needed to see and they went with it without any doubt. The final auditions were conducted in Pune and Mumbai.

For young Sunny who never left her hometown, being whisked around the world with an international film crew was like a dream and he enjoyed every bit of it. First, it was Kolkata, followed by Indore, Australia, and then America where he stayed for three months with his father. Meanwhile, both father and son never traveled anywhere outside India before. Basically, landing his debut role in the film rewrote his story and exposed his family to a better life.

Sunny Pawar could not speak English when he starred in Lion

While he might be brushing up on his English now, Pawar only speaks Hindi but that apparently didn’t stop his performance from being top-notch. Apparently, directors saw beyond a kid who didn’t know how to speak English and chose to tap into his potential instead. The language barrier was a problem no doubt but the directors were able to communicate perfectly with sign language. The young actor learned most of his lines phonetically. He would write them down with the help of an interpreter on set (Rahul) and learn in his own way. For scenes where he had to convey emotions, Pawar and the director developed specific sign language for that and he aced his way through it all.

To further bridge the language barrier, he played cricket with his onscreen parents, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham and part of those activities made it to the movie. Engaging in sports was one of the ways they tried to bond with the boy. Overall, Pawar’s charm overshadowed the gap language created and the result of his appearance in Lion resonates across the world.

The movie Lion is based on a true-life story

The emotion-wrecking movie is based on a real-life story of a 5-year-old Indian boy who got separated from his family after following his older brother Guddu to the busy railway station. The boy whose name is Saroo was left cold, lonely, and scared as he tries to find his brother but unknown to him, he is moving further away from home as he jumps from one train and location to another in search of his family. After living on the streets for a while and escaping several dangers, he eventually ends up in an orphanage home where a lovely Australian couple adopted him and gave him a better life. Notwithstanding, having all the things anyone could ask for in his new home didn’t stop him from worrying about the people he left behind in India.

Now grown up, Saroo tries to find the family he left behind in his hometown, and with the help of his foster parents, friends, and of course Google Earth, he finds himself back in the slum he grew up in. Sadly, a lot has changed since he left home, including the death of his older brother Guddu.

Sunny Pawar described the story as scary but he was also moved by it. The young actor is happy he got to play Saroo in the 2016 Australian biographical drama film and loves the attention he is getting from fans. He was initially denied a US visa to attend the movie premiere ceremony of the Lion but following intervention from the producers, who appealed to Homeland Security, he got his pass to come to the United States with his father.

Lion won a lot of awards and recognition with Pawar taking center stage as everyone wanted to see him, including superstars. The film won four Golden Globe nominations and two Screen Actors Guild award nominations for Dave Patel and costar Nicole Kidman.

He attended the 2017 Oscar Awards

For his stellar performance in Lion, Pawar earned the opportunity to dine with the creme de la creme of Hollywood at the Oscar Awards ceremony in 2017. The Mumbai slum kid and Lion star grabbed the attention of many at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony, including Hollywood celebrities who wanted to have a moment with him.

In addition to winning at The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA) Awards, Sunny Pawar has received accolades at the New York Indian Film Festival, and a Special Mention Grand Jury Prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. He won the Best Youth Performance from the Online Film & Television Association.

One of the celebrities pictured with Pawar at the awards is Kimmy Kimmel who was discussing the editing quality of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ with the Indian star and at one point, lifted the boy up to recreate the scene from Lion King when Simba was shown to his kinsmen after his birth.

Pawar with Jimmy Kimmel – image source

Another milestone for the actor was his appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Pawar used his time in the US to boost his brand and one of the things he achieved was being on a popular show with one of America’s finest.

He also got to meet some of his favorite stars in the WWE, including Tripple H who gave him a signed belt. Pawar was live in the WWE arena where he took pictures with celebrities.

Sunny Pawar didn’t miss a chance to visit the White House during his stay in the United States and yes, he met US president, Barack Obama, who wished him well in his future endeavors. There is indeed no limit to the joy he has experienced since that major breakthrough with his first attempt at acting.

Highlights of Sunny Pawar’s awards and nominations through his Lion role

  • Won Asia Pacific Screen Awards – Jury Grand Prize (2016)
  • Won Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards – Best Lead Actor (2017)
  • Nominated for Australian Film Critics Association Awards – Best Actor (2018)
  • Nominated for Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards – Best Young Actor/Actress (2016)
  • Nominated for Central Ohio Film Critics Association – Breakthrough Film Artist (2017)
  • Nominated for CinEuphoria Awards – Best Supporting Actor – International Competition (2017)
  • Won Online Film & Television Association – Best Youth Performance (2017)
  • Nominated for Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards – Best Performance by a Youth (2016)
  • Nominated for Seattle Film Critics Society – Best Youth Performance (2017)
  • Nominated for Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards – Best Youth Performance (2016)
  • Nominated for Young Artist Awards – Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor (2017)
  • Nominated for Young Entertainer Awards – Best Leading Young Actor 12 & Under – Feature Film (2017)

He has acted in other films since Lion

Sunny Pawar’s career as an actor hit the ground running, a feat not many actors can boast of. He achieved fame with his debut role which garnered rave reviews for the character ensemble, especially his interpretation of the part given to him, even though he couldn’t communicate easily with the director.

Since his role in Lion (2016), Pawar has appeared in a few other projects, notably Sacred Games (2018) and Chippa (2019). His Best Child Actor award was won for his role in Chippa at the 19th New York Indian Film Festival. He was also nominated for Best Young Performer at the Critics Movie Award.

Though their parts didn’t cross onscreen since he played the younger version of Dave Patel, Sunny has expressed his desire to work with Patel again. They apparently bonded on the set of Lion and he hopes to interact with the actor more in the future.

Summary of Sunny Pawar’s movies and TV shows


  • Lion as Young Saroo – 2016
  • AA BB KK as Margya – 2018
  • Love Sonia as Bang Bang – 2018
  • To Remember Me By as Chotu (Tea Stall Boy) 2019
  • Chippa as Chippa – 2019
  • Tiger’s Nest (post Production) as Balmani

TV series

  • Sacred Games as Young Gaitonde 2019

The impact of Lion on his life

Sunny Pawar’s life has changed since he made his debut on the set of Lion (2016) and he mostly has his talents to thank for it. The young actor is one of the child stars to garner massive attention from established celebrities over a short period in the performing arts industry. Above all, he has been to places he never dreamed of, including the White House, met the United States president, met some WWE superstars, and Hollywood big guns.

Also, young kids in his neighborhood now look up to him with respect since his appearance in Lion. Overall, his part in the 2016 film turned his life around for the better. Despite the attention, Sunny Pawar is still ready to continue his education while pursuing a career in acting and any other field of interest. The young Indian boy literally went from slum kid to Hollywood star because he played his role as Saroo Brierley well.

What is Sunny Pawar’s net worth?

As a budding star, the financial details of Sunny Pawar have not made it to the media. Nonetheless, it is clear that he made his major earnings on the set of Lion but the salary he received for that role is not known. Sunny has also acted in other movies with plans to continue in his career as an actor which will apparently boost his net worth.

His co-star in the Lion movie, Dave Patel has a net worth estimated at $10 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Patel, an English actor born to Hindi parents, has been in the industry since 2000 and has many acting credits to show for it.

Sunny Pawar’s plans for the future

The Indian actor may be in his budding stage but he already has big dreams. His idol in the industry is Hrithik Roshan, who also starred in his favorite movie Krrish. The movie happens to be based on a superhero and that is exactly the type of role Pawar has his eyes set on. According to Pawar, the superpowers he likes the most are “flying and saving human lives.”

Being an accomplished actor is one of his aspirations but if that doesn’t work out as planned, Pawar plans to become a police officer, securing his city of Mumbai, just like a superhero.

Aside from being a fan of WWE, Pawar also loves to eat and sleep. This is one of the things he loved about his filming days in Kolkata, India, where he enjoyed delicious dishes at the hotel and streets.

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