Dev Patel: There’s a need for better representation of Sikhs || Sikh Vogue

As Hotel Mumbai trailer drops today, Lion star Dev Patel on why he insisted on playing a turbaned character


Dev Patel

Dev Patel was all of 17 when the 26/11 terror attacks shook Mumbai.

Over a decade on, when he heard that director Anthony Maras was bringing the 2008 attack at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel episode to the big screen with Hotel Mumbai, the actor was certain he wanted to earn a role in the film. Patel plays a fictional character, Arjun, who works under chef Hemant Oberoi — essayed by Anupam Kher — in the movie that is inspired by the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai.

“My roots are in India and the country calls out to me,” says Patel, as the trailer of his offering releases in India today. Interestingly, it was Patel who was keen that his part is written as a Sikh character in the Maras and John Collee-written story.

Besides prepping for his part for over two months by living in Sikh slums, Patel also learnt to tie the turban in a bid to stay true to his character. “Post 9/11, there were so many stories of cab drivers being abused. There’s a genuine need for better representation of the community. A young Sikh man once took off his turban to stop someone from bleeding after a car crash. These are the stories I held on to in order to imbibe the essence of this part. They are a selfless community.”

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