© 2022 Cincinnati Public Radio
purple_waveback6.png
Connecting You to a World of Ideas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Slumdog' Actor Dev Patel On 'Living The Dream'

Dev Patel arrives at the Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 25, 2009. Patel was nominated in the supporting actor category.
Alberto E. Rodriguez
/
Getty Images
Dev Patel arrives at the Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 25, 2009. Patel was nominated in the supporting actor category.

The Oscar-nominated film Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of a Mumbai street kid who makes an improbable run on the Indian version of the television show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.

It's a small film with a big heart, and perhaps no one appreciates the rags-to-riches theme as much as Dev Patel, the 18-year-old Londoner with no formal acting training who plays the lead.

"If you asked me a year ago would I ever have been doing a movie with [director] Danny Boyle, I would have absolutely laughed in your face," Patel tells Liane Hansen.

Patel describes himself as "a very lucky kid," with parents who supported his desire to be an actor. His path to the big screen began when his mother suggested he attend an open audition in London for a small teen drama. He snagged a part in the production, and when the daughter of director Danny Boyle saw his performance, she recommended him for the role in her father's film.

From there, it was off to Mumbai, where Slumdog filmed for four months. To prepare for his role, Patel visited the city's slums, hawked tea in a telephone call center and scrubbed dishes in the kitchen of a hotel. And, he says, he fell in love with the teeming mega city, which he fondly describes as "a shock to all senses."

"As soon as you step off the plane — bang! — you're hit with a wall of heat, and your clothes become sweaty all of the sudden and the air smells different," says Patel. "Someone called it the smell of sweat and dreams, which I really love."

As for Patel, he says that he feels like he's "living the dream."

"I feel so blessed," says the young actor. "I'm not thinking too far ahead at the moment. I'm just trying to enjoy each moment right now and just go with the flow."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.