Dev Patel opens up about childhood struggle with his Indian culture


Dev Patel tried to "rid" himself of his Indian culture when he was younger.

The 'Lion' star admits it was tough growing up as he tried to get rid of all his culture over fears it "wasn't cool to be Indian" in his childhood.

He said: "I spent a lot of my childhood never having been to India. I would go to school and do everything I could to rid myself of my culture, to fit in, because it wasn't cool to be Indian, to open your lunchbox and for there to be samosas in there, and they're smelling out the classroom and someone's teasing you."

However, after returning to India to film 'Slumdog Millionaire', he reconnected to his culture and "embraced" all it had to offer.

He added: "I never knew I was going to go to India and fall in love with my co-star [Freida Pinto] Being there, it made me feel more whole as a human. I didn't run away from the culture, I embraced it. That's what Slumdog taught me. There are other actors - I won't name names - who refuse to play characters with Indian names. But I embraced it because I knew the stories were valid to me, and I knew they'd be valid to the world. Slumdog was a film that was going to go straight to DVD, but that underdog story is universal. It doesn't matter that it was set in a slum in India."

Dev admits he has experienced a number of great moments but said there is something that follows it which is "always humbling".

Speaking to The Sunday Times' Culture magazine, he recalled: "I remember turning up in Toronto [at the film festival, for Slumdog Millionaire]. There was so much press around Freida. And the bodyguards got her in the car and slammed the door shut, and it started moving away. I was still outside. No one knew who I was.

"I was just this kid in a River Island suit and his school shoes. I was, like, 'Wait, I'm the lead of the movie, I should be in that car!' And straight after Slumdog, I went and did 'The Last Airbender', and I got nominated for the Razzies [the Golden Raspberry awards]. The great moments are always followed by something humbling."