"We believe it must be the effect of immigration paranoia.”
A U.S. visa is all one Indian child actor needs to be able to attend the premiere of Hollywood film Lion. But, it seems the US consulate in Mumbai is reluctant.
8-year-old Sunny Pawar landed his first major screen role, playing a young boy, lost in the city of Kolkata. Unfortunately, he cannot attend the screening of his performance due to a suspected immigration concern.
The Weinstein Company, who distribute the film, tried and failed to secure the youngster with a visa. The President of the company, David Glasser, told Variety:
“We are doing everything we can to fight this. We believe it must be the effect of immigration paranoia.”
Glasser further added:
“We are devastated that Sunny, an 8-year-old boy who is part of this amazing film and who is garnering such strong reactions from his performance, cannot be here to be a part of this experience.”
The Indian 8-year-old could not attend the Toronto Film Festival due to his missing visa. He was set to arrive in New York and Los Angeles with his father.
The Weinstein Company have revealed it is due to immigration concerns that may be hindering Pawar’s visa. They have contacted an attorney to help them raise the issue. Pawar’s career is being impeded by this immigration concern.
Pawar plays Saroo Brierley, a young boy who after being separated from his parents, ends up in an orphanage. He is then found and adopted by Australian couple John and Sue Brierley, played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham.
The character of Saroo then grows older, after which he is played by Dev Patel. Saroo then uses Google Earth to find his biological parents, who he was separated from in Kolkata.
Pawar plays a key role in the film, dominating the first hour with his character. His performance has been praised by critics, and by the Weinstein Company.
Variety critic, Peter Debruge, said Pawar was: “So adorable he could set off an Indian adoption craze.”
Lion will be released on November the 24th 2016 in Singapore. It will be released in Australia a day later, and in the UK on the 20th of January 2017.