Eight-year-old Lion actor Sunny Pawar, who created waves at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles with his The Lion King act, returned home to a royal welcome as he stepped out of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Wednesday morning.
Accompanied by his father Dilip Pawar — a former sweeper-turned-son's business manager — Sunny sat on the trolley stacked high with his luggage and was wheeled out to a large number of people cheering and waving, as a media battalion braced for an encounter with the young celebrity.
Though appearing a bit weary from a long-haul flight, Sunny was a bundle of energy, enthusiastically smiled and waved back at the people, as a couple of bouncers struggled to keep their valuable subject safe from the mobbing crowds.
Some emotional elderly family members and relatives garlanded him as he stepped out of the airport, offered him sweets and blessed the actor, who attended the star-studded awards ceremony on February 26.
"I am very happy and enjoyed attending the Oscars ceremony," Sunny, who featured in the Oscar nominated Hollywood film Lion, said to a mediaperson.
To another, he shot back: "I will continue to study and also pursue my acting career."
The Class III student of Air Indian Model School, Kalina, was selected out of a nationwide talent-hunt around one and half years ago and finally cleared the auditions in Mumbai and Pune to land the plum role in Garth Davis's Lion.