Indians Abroad

Dev Patel

Famous As Actor
Born On 23 April 1990
Born In London, England
Nationality British

Dev Patel is a celebrated Indian-origin British actor, known for his roles in many award winning and internationally acclaimed films like 'Slumdog Millionaire', 'Lion', 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' and 'Hotel Mumbai'. Born into a family of Gujarati Hindu descent, he was raised by his first-generation emigrant parents in Harrow, London. Excellent in acting and martial arts since his childhood, he was much appreciated for his ability to portray all kinds of character while in school. However, he never aspired to become an actor until his mother dragged him to an audition, thus debuting on screen with the teen television series, 'Skins', at the age of sixteen. The role not only bought him recognition, but also his next role; being chosen to play the lead role of Jamal Malik in 'Slumdog Millionaire'. Thus at eighteen, he became a well-known name internationally, bagging several awards. Today, he has fifteen films to his credit, many of which are box office hits.

Early Life
Dev Patel was born on 23 April, 1990 in London, United Kingdom. Although his family was of Gujarati descent, neither of his parents, Ruju and Ankita Patel, ever lived in India, but migrated to England from Kenya as teenagers. Later Raju became an IT consultant and Ankita a caregiver. Born younger of his parents' two children, he has an elder sister called Trushna, four years his senior. Trunsha is now involved in business marketing.

As a child, Dev was excessively energetic. Starting his education at Longfield Primary School, he later moved to Whitmore High School, from where he completed his AS Levels in PE, Biology, History, and Drama in 2007. Meanwhile in 2000, in order to channelize his extra energy, he was enrolled at the Rayners Lane Academy to be trained in Taekwondo. Very soon, he started competing in both national and international championships, winning a bronze medal in AIMAA World Championships in 2004 and gaining a 1st Dan black belt in 2006. However, acting was always his first love.

It is not known exactly when, but Dev debuted in acting with the role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek in the school's production of 'Twelfth Night'. Shortly, he impressed his drama teacher with his ability to portray a wide range of characters, receiving an A* in General Certificate of Secondary Education Drama for his "self-penned portrayal of a child in the Beslan school siege".

Although Dev loved acting he never dreamed of becoming an actor. To him, it always seemed an "unattainable distance dream". But all these changed when in 2006 his mother came across an advertisement for a television audition and decided that her son should give it a try. She did not hesitate even when he protested and dragged him to the audition. Ultimately, she was proven right for Dev bagged the role of Anwar Kharral, a British Muslim kid indulging in drugs, booze and sex, in the teen comedy-drama television series, 'Skins'.

Since he did not have any kind of professional acting experience the first few days were tough. But he learnt the ropes very quickly and authentically portrayed his character for two consecutive seasons (2007-2008). However, along with fame, the role also brought him trouble. His teachers did not approve of it; neither did some kids, who objected to his playing a Muslim character in spite of being a Hindu. All these hostilities made him drop out of school and even though he was academically quite bright never appeared for his A-level.

But as we said, every coin has two sides. While he was busy playing Anwar, Daniel Francis Boyle, a noted film, television and stage director, was looking for an ordinary-looking teenage Indian actor, somebody who did not look like a potential hero, for the lead role of Jamal Malik in his forthcoming film, 'Slumdog Millionaire'. But unfortunately, all the actors that he came across were either too handsome or too brawny. Ultimately, it was his daughter, Caitlin, an ardent 'Skins' fan, who told him about Dev Patel. Taking this queue, he called him for an audition.

However, it was not an easy ride for Dev, who had to appear for five auditions before he got his final call in August 2007. Since his character was an Indian slum dweller, he also had to familiarize himself with their lifestyle and to do that he accompanied the director to India, where he spent time observing the life in Dharavi, washing dishes in a hotel, working for a day in a call centre. All these eventually paid up as 'Slumdog Millionaire' won an Oscar and Dev Patel's film career really zoomed up after that.

After his success in 'Slumdog Millionaire', Dev started getting multiple offers, starring in films like 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' (2011) and its sequel, 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' (2015). His other important works are 'About Cherry' (2013), 'The Road Within' (2014), 'Chappie' (2015), 'The Man Who Knew Infinity' (2016), 'Lion' (2016), 'Hotel Mumbai' (2018), 'The Personal History of David Copperfield' (2019) etc. His latest work, 'The Green Night' is now in post-production stage. Concurrently, he also appeared on television, the most significant work in this field being his portrayal of Neal Sampat in twenty-two episodes of 'The Newsroom'.

Achievements and Awards
In 2008, shortly after the release of 'Slumdog Millionaire', Dev Patel won several awards for his successful portrayal of the role of Jamal Malik. They include British Independent Film Award, National Board of Review (NBR) Award, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Critics' Choice Award, and two Black Reel Awards for Best Actor and Best Breakthrough Performance. These apart, he has also co-won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Winning the BAFTA awards for 'Best Supporting Actor' for his role of Saroo Brierley in 'Lion' is another feather in his cap. In 2016, he also received the Academy nomination for the same role, but failed to win it.

Personal Life
Sometime in 2009, Dev Patel began dating Freida Pinto. She was his co-star in 'Slumdog Millionaire' and six years his senior. In December 2014, after a six-year relationship, they separated amicably. Later in 2016, he met Tilda Cobham-Hervey while shooting for his 2018 film, 'Hotel Mumbai'. In March 2017, they announced their relationship.

Time Line
  • 1990: Patel was born in Harrow, London.
  • 2000: Started his training in Taekwondo.
  • 2004: Won bronze medal in AIMAA World Championships
  • 2006: Gained a 1st Dan black belt and auditioned for the role of Anwar Kharral in the television series, 'Skins'
  • 2007: Debuted on television with his role of Anwar Kharral in 'Skins' and auditioned for the role of Jamal Malik in the film, 'Slumdog Millionaire'.
  • 2008: 'Slumdog Millionaire' is released, winning several international awards for him.
  • 2016: His second award-winning film, 'Lion' is released; he received Academy Award nomination for his work.