British-Indian actor Dev Patel has revealed he is tired of being criticised for “stealing” roles from “real” Indian actors.
The 28-year-old actor, who was born in London to parents from Gujarat, India, said he is trying to understand himself better by connecting to his heritage.
“I get flak sometimes because people will say, ‘Why aren’t they giving these roles to a real Indian?’ I wonder, What does that even mean? The only way I can converse with my grandparents is in Gujarati. Does that make me real enough? Or am I only allowed to witness the moments of prejudice and racism going through airports? Is that the only bit that I’m allowed of the culture?
“The truth is I’m trying to understand myself better and my heritage, to figure things out, in the movie choices I make. That’s been the greatest thing for me in going to India repeatedly,” Patel told San Francisco Chronicle.
The Lion star previously confessed he “reconnected” with his Indian roots when he starred in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire. In 2016, he later said that he could never really fit in as the locals “could smell the foreigner on me”.