'Lion' child star Sunny Pawar welcomed home as pride of India

The 8-year-old is from a poor neighborhood in Mumbai.

— -- After making the awards show rounds for the Oscar-nominated film "Lion," 8-year-old breakout star Sunny Pawar returned home to India to a huge celebration.

He told the Daily Mail that returning home has been "crazy."

"People have not stopped calling since we arrived home," he said. "We've not stopped to rest for one minute."

“Lion,” which follows the true story of Saroo Brierley’s search for his birth family in India, earned six Oscar nominations this year, including for best picture, best adapted screenplay and best performances in supporting roles by Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. It did not win.

Filming for “Lion” took place primarily in Australia and parts of India, and Sunny plays the role of young Saroo.

He said the success the film has brought him has also changed the lives of his family, with whom he said he lives in a poor neighborhood in Mumbai.

"I love seeing my family get the respect they deserve. I would not have done any of this without their support," he said. "Nobody has treated us like we're a poor family or live in a slum during this journey. I can only hope it continues and my family are treated well wherever they go."

Sunny was chosen for his role in "Lion" out of 2,000 other children, the Daily Mail reported, and his family was alongside him every step of the way. His father, Dilip Pawar, even lost his job to come with him to film.

"My son was selected out of all the kids in India. What else could a father dream of?" his father said. "I am a very proud father that my son has so much talent. Traveling with Sunny has meant I am now out of work but I have no regrets."

Being on the set of "Lion" was a happy experience for Sunny, who said the cast and crew were "fabulous" and that he even would play cricket with co-stars Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman.

"They all treated me like their own child,” he said, “and it was an amazing feeling.”