Years ago, a little boy on a train slept longer than he should, and drifted far far away from home. He landed in Kolkata, where he wandered on streets for days, got out of clutches of a few bad people, was sent to an orphanage and was eventually adopted by an Australian couple. After growing up in a loving home, he set out on a journey to trace his biological parents with the help of figments of memories that he had treasured with him, and Google Maps. Hollywood movie Lion brings the true-story alive on the big screen, and our beloved Dev Patel plays the lead role. The drama, directed by Garth Davis, will release in India on February 24, two days ahead of Oscars 2017. And fans of Dev Patel here are eagerly looking forward to the two days.
Indian-origin British Actor Dev Patel, whom we loved and adored in Slumdog Millionaire years ago, has majorly impressed Hollywood once again with Lion. He will be vying for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 89th Academy Awards, for the portrayal of Saroo Brierley. The Oscars 2017 are to be held in Los Angeles on February 26. And of course we all Indians are already rooting for the man!
This is certainly a big step for Hollywood. Last Oscars were widely bashed for its non-exclusivity of non-white actors. The hash tag #OscarSoWhite trended for days on Twitter, and other social media platforms. But this year isn’t the same, as seven people of color were among the 20 acting nominees including Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Denzel Washington along with Dev.
Dev has always associated himself with quality projects. He made his acting debut with Danny Boyle’s widely popular drama Slumdog Millionaire. His portrayal of a chaiwalla participating in a fictional LIVE version of Kaun Banega Crorepati/Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, who knows answers to all the questions – thanks to his life journey – won hearts all over. He became an overnight sensation as the movie began to bag praises and laurels internationally. AR Rahman’s Oscar win for the song Jai Ho played a catalyst in Dev’s popularity chart in India. Back then, one would think what roles would an Indian boy get in Hollywood! Answering those questions Dev did impressive work in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Chappie, The Man Who Knew Infinity, and the hit TV series The Newsroom – for which he earned NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series nomination.
Indians fell in love with utterly-cute looking, lanky, brown guy who was, for them, making Indian proud on a global scale. Having a soft corner for Dev, we often forget that his ethnicity is one of the only things Indian about him, as his roots are in London and Kenya. He was born on 23 April 1990 in Harrow, London, and has been raised there. His Hindu parents were born in Kenya, and later moved to England. Dev is just as awestruck by Indians showering love on him as much Vin Diesel was.”It was only when I went to India with Slumdog that I started to appreciate the country. I was educated out of all those preconceived stereotypes about my culture.” he said in an interview with Radio Times.But his belonging to Hollywood should not certainly stop us from cheering big for him, as still represents the minority in the Oscars that were once called out for being ‘Whitewashed’.
Dev won his first award as an actor in middle school. He played the role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek in a production of Twelfth Night at Longfield Middle School, and the won a Best Actor “plaque” for his portrayal, the actor revealed in an interview with The Telegraph in 2008. Dev was a “gifted” boy according to his drama teacher, Niamh Wright, at Whitmore High School, in Harrow. “Dev was a gifted student who quickly impressed me with his innate ability to communicate a wide variety of characters imaginatively and creatively,” she said while talking to Evening Standard. Certainly Dev always wanted to be an actor and thus began his career at an early age with the TV show Skins. Though he only earned widespread recognition as the Slumdog Millionaire. Skins audition was given by the actor on insistence by his mother Anita Patel. She is definitely one proud mother and was ecstatic upon hearing about her son’s Oscars 2017 nomination. “I just talked to my mum in London and she is screaming and crying and people are looking into her office to see what’s wrong,” Dev said, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Fame was not the only gift Dev got from the Academy Award winner blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire. He began dating his co-star Freida Pinto soon after the films’ release, and the two went strong for years. They head to splitsville, on a good note, after dating for nearly six years. They were very much the hot property of Hollywood, with the Western media talking about their relationship just as much as we see them talking about Zayn Malik-Gigi Hadid.
Dev is not, what you say – Hollywood hero, in the most conventional way. “I am trying to be the person who isn’t waiting for the phone to ring but can generate their own material.” Dev admits to Radio Times addressing the lack of roles available to him. But he does have fans swooning over him for his exotic looks. He was recently on The Ellen DeGeneres Show – yep, much before Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone – where the host tagged him as the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ in her own version of the title. Dev responded with blushing eternally, and that humbleness is what every actor should aspire for. Also, popular entertainment portals like Buzzfeed have been going gaga over how Dev has started looking HOT over the years. He has been hitting the gym regularly to bulk up for his role in Lion. We hope to see such praises coming his way open doors for Zac Efron like roles in the future. Even if that doesn’t happen, he is doing pretty damn good for himself, that many of Hollywood A-Listers took years to achieve.
“We’re the snowpiercers right now, treading new ground. Riz is young. I’m young. I think things are going to get better.” Dev told The Telegraph while addressing Indians being recognised by the awards in Hollywood. We wish him all the best for his Oscars 2017 nomination.
Dev is currently in India shooting for his next venture titled Hotel Mumbai.
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