When The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was released in 2012, Patel co-starred with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Bill Nighy in the role that would secure him in certain stardom. He took lessons so that his voice would take on the perfect Indian-English accent, which he lacked, having lived his entire life in England. In this first of a pair of films, he plays Sonny Kapoor, who owns the hotel with his brothers. That year, he also played Andrew in About Cherry.
In The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) Dev Patel reprised his role as Sonny Kapoor, who dreams of expanding into a hotel empire with the opening of another hotel. Other 2015 films included Patel as Alex in The Road Within and Deon Wilson in Chappie.
A Step into Fantasy
July 2010 was the year Patel portrayed Zuko in the feature film by M. Night Shyamalan, The Last Airbender. The fantasy film based on the animated Avatar series was a huge commercial success, regardless of its lack of critical acclaim.
The first time Patel was seen in a feature film he played the role of Jamal Malik, a poor Indian Muslim boy who is born and lives in Bombay, India. Film producer Ruslaan Mumtaz wanted to find someone to play the lead character who looked as if he had earned the title of hero in the film. Patel joined English film director Danny Boyle in trips to the Dharavi slums and spent time washing dishes in a hotel and working at a call center to prepare for his role in the film. Late in 2088, Slumdog Millionaire was released.
“Patel instantly became a worldwide star, and his performance in the award-winning film was celebrated by audiences and critics alike.”
Provided by Rovi
In 2009, Patel won numerous awards for his Slumdog Millionaire performance, including a British Independent Film Award, the National Board of Review (NBR) Award, the Chicago Film Critics Association Award, two Black Reel Awards for Best Actor and Best Breakthrough Performance, and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Young Performer. Along with his ten fellow cast members, he won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2009 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, nominated for two London Critics Circle Film Awards, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, the 2009 BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actor, and European Film Award for Best Actor. The film won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and four Golden Globes, including Best Drama Film.
Dev Patel began his acting career while he was a student at Whitmore High School in Harrow England. The year was 2007, and he auditioned for the British television drama Skins. It was January 2007. Patel had no professional experiences as an actor at that point, and had to learn on the job. The series ran for two years, and won two awards. In 2008, it won the Rose d’Or for Drama. In 2009 it won the Philips Audience Award in the BAFTA Awards.
Since his childhood, Dev Patel studied martial arts. He eventually earned the 1st dan of the black belt in 2006. His energy level brought him trouble in school, so he started training in Taekwon-do in 2000 at the Rayners Lane Academy. He competed in national and international championships. In 2004, he won a bronze medal at the Action International Martial Arts Association World Championships in Dublin.
In an interview with Katy Hastings for Hitfix, he mentions how his martial arts training and the role of Zuko allowed him to bring his own personal sense of vulnerability and conflict into The Last Airbender. He wanted to stretch his skills as an actor. Audiences were surprised to see the great difference between this role and his earlier innocence in Slumdog Millionaire. His often wide-eyed facial expressions and cheerful smile have endeared him to his audiences. It could easily be that Patel’s grounding in the martial arts has allowed him to continually embrace what he called the experience of “a boy bursting into manhood” throughout his acting career.