The 8-year-old Lion actor won hearts (dethroning Jacob Tremblay?) after introducing his film at the Golden Globes. Co-star Dev Patel, who joined him onstage, boosted his young co-star to the microphone to exclaim, “This is our movie, Lion.”
Lion follows Saroo Brierley, who, at 5 years old, got lost far from his hometown and was adopted by an Australian couple, played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham. Twenty years later, he began searching for his long-lost family using Google Earth. Lion received four Golden Globe nominations and has since received two Screen Actors Guild award nominations for Patel and costar Nicole Kidman.
“It was a scary but very brave story and that really touched me,” Pawar tells PEOPLE.
“I’m still a little kid so [my parents have] made sure that I don’t go flying high,” Pawar says. “So education continues and strict discipline continues.”
Before his trip to the White House, Pawar smiled in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in a red puffy coat. “Being an actor is a privilege and I’m blessed,” he tells PEOPLE, and he says he loves “signing autographs and taking pictures.”
So what’s next on Pawar’s bucket list, who has also made stops at Disneyland and Times Square?
“We’ll be leaving soon now, if there’s one thing left to do, it’s a WWE match,” he shares.