Dev Patel shunned his Indian heritage to fit in

Dev Patel doesn't want to use social media as a way to get ahead in Hollywood.

Dev Patel struggled with his Indian identity when he was growing up.

The British actor’s parents are both Gujarati Hindu Indians, but when he was a youngster Dev didn’t get to know his heritage as well as he could have done. But after being cast in Danny Boyle’s 2008 hit Slumdog Millionaire, set in Mumbai, Dev was inspired to take an interest in his family’s culture.

“Growing up in London I struggled with my identity. My great-grandmother didn’t speak English so I’d try and string together a sentence in Gujarati, mixed with some English slang, and she’d laugh at me,” he smiled to Time Out London magazine.

“But I did shun parts of my Indian heritage, to not get bullied, to fit in. Going to India to film Slumdog opened my mind and allowed me to not only accept my culture but embrace it.”

He’s once again visiting his roots in new movie Lion, where he plays real life Saroo Brierley who, after losing his parents as a child in Calcutta and getting adopted by an Australian couple, tracks down his birth family using Google Earth as an adult.

In real life Dev isn’t as tech savvy as Saroo, and rejects social media as a way to get ahead in Hollywood,

“I know there’s an argument that if you’ve got a big – what’s it called? - following, it can help you get roles. But I’m old-school. I’m trying to be an artist. People will believe in me more the less they know about me,” he stated.

His approach is clearly working, and on Tuesday (10Jan17) Dev received a BAFTA nod for his part in Lion, which co-stars Nicole Kidman. The 26-year-old was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe but missed out to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for his role in Nocturnal Animals.

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