Acting in Hotel Mumbai was harrowing: Dev Patel
The actor says he also got an inside look at the suffering of people in the Taj hotel in the 2008 terror attack.
Actor Dev Patel says acting in Hotel Mumbai was a harrowing experience and an eye-opener in realising the travails of the victims of the 2008 terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Patel recounted his experience of making the film when asked if he would like to star in a movie about British colonial rule in India.
He said that he would love to do a movie on British rule, but it would depend on the script and went on to explain the difficulties of making films based on historical events. "I feel especially when you are tackling a project that is about real events, that affected real human lives, in a massive catastrophic way, there is great responsibility in that," he said.
"So I tread very carefully when I am dealing with such subject matters. I just did a film recently which is based on the 2008 terror attacks on the Taj Hotels in Mumbai," he recalled. "It was a harrowing film to shoot and to really get an inside look at the suffering of these people in this hotel in this terror siege was really eye-opening."
Hotel Mumbai is based on the three-day siege of the Taj Hotel that started on November 26, 2008, by Pakistan-based terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba in which 167 people were killed. Patel is reported to be playing the role of a waiter in the movie directed by Anthony Maras.
Patel said that he got hooked on movies when as a child he surreptitiously saw Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon well past bedtime at his home. Watching the movie "I fell in love with cinema and escapism, he said.
Asked if there was any role he would not play and where he would draw the line, Patel said: "I would take home any role if it is executed well." At one time he used to say that he would not play specific type of characters like taxi drivers or terrorists, he recalled.
Explaining his change of mind, he said: "It is important that we educate the world through our art. If I can play a role like that, and show the grey areas and parts of the human psyche and mentality that we are not aware of, then we can break down those broad strokes that we have, that we keep painting in the media and we can get to the core of some of these issues."
In 2016, with movies like Lion, where he played a young man trying to find his lost family, Patel said: "We're beginning to hear some more diverse voices in the film industry."
The box office success of films like The Big Sick can "show the studios that an Asian actor can be bankable," he said. (The Big Sick is a romantic comedy based on the experience of a real-life inter-racial Pakistani and white American couple, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon, who wrote the film. Nanjiani also acts in the movie with Anupam Kher.)