From his breakthrough role as Jamal in Danny Boyle’s Oscar nominated brit-flick, Slumdog Millionaire, Dev Patel has carved out a niche for himself as the token Indian face in a growing number of Hollywood movies and TV shows.
Born in Harrow in 1990, Patel grew up in Rayner’s Lane and his talent for drama shone from a very young age.
When he was sixteen, with no professional acting experience, Patel’s mum saw a casting ad in the newspaper for the E4 show ‘Skins’ and took Dev along to the audition even though he had a science exam the next day. After two auditions, he was cast as Anwar Kharral.
But the small screen wasn’t big enough for Dev and it would be only two years later when he auditioned for the role that made him a star. Patel was cast as Jamal Malik in Slumdog Millionaire, the film that opened the doors to Hollywood for him.
Since then Patel has gone on to appear in a number of films including one of our favourites “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, a charming story about a group of ageing British people who for one reason or another decide to spend their retirement in India.
And most recently, Lion, which tells the story of a 5 year old boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta and is eventually adopted by an Australian family 25 years later, when he decides to seek out his biological mother.
Based on a true story, Dev actually met Saroo, the character he plays and spent 8 months preparing for the role, “When you’re blessed with a role like this, it’s only right to spend as long as it takes to get it right,” said Patel in interview.
“I had to do a lot of dialogue coaching and I had to put on weight, eating like a glutton and going to the gym, which was very interesting for me.”
“Shot partly in Australia and partly in India, with a wonderful cast, it’s a very heavy film to watch but it’s also very inspiring.”
Lion is in cinemas in the UK from January 20th.