Indian child star of new movie Lion ‘denied US visa to attend premiere’

Eight-year-old Sunny Pawar plays a key role in film but has reportedly not been given a visa to attend Los Angeles and New York screenings of the movie

The eight-year-old Indian star of a film starring Nicole Kidman has reportedly been denied a US visa he needed to attend its New York premiere.

The Weinstein Company, which is distributing the film, says Sunny Pawar was due to fly with his father to Los Angeles and New York for screenings of the film Lion, which also stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.

Sunny plays Saroo Brierley, a young Indian boy who becomes lost on the streets of Kolkata and ends up in an orphanage before being adopted by an Australian couple. 25 years later, the adult Saroo now played by Dev Patel uses Google Earth to find the family from which he was separated.

The Weinstein Company is attempting to obtain a last-minute visa for Sunny and his father, but fear that it may have been denied due to immigration concerns. We are doing everything we can to fight this, Weinstein Company president David Glasser said.

We believe it must be the effect of immigration paranoia. He, of course, poses absolutely no threat to anyone. We want him to be a part of the celebration of this film and his performance. We fully intend to go through the proper resources and appeal with the state department for assistance.

It was not immediately clear when Sunnys visa had been applied for. He did not attend the films screening at the Toronto film festival.

The US consulate in Mumbai has been contacted for comment.

Lion is released in the US on 25 November, Australia on 19 January and the UK on 20 January.


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