Dev Patel first wowed audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival when he was a mere 17 years old, with his performance in Slumdog Millionaire. He is no stranger to the land of Toronto, nor its people. We caught him at the red carpet of the premiere of The Wedding Guest, and asked him how it felt to be back at TIFF.
Dev laughed and replied, “I felt those same butterflies when I landed, when I did Slumdog…I came to TIFF in my school shoes my first time and a lot has changed. I just feel the general public here has been really good to me; like, they’ve watched me grow, they’ve nurtured me; and it just really feels like home turf in a weird way.”
Those who have followed Dev Patel since he was a child would be curious to know if he had ever really visited India except for the purposes of his films. So, I asked, and Dev replied, “[b]efore Slumdog, I’d gone when I was a very young boy but I don’t remember much but I went when I was 17 during Slumdog.”
This time around, for The Wedding Guest, then, it would have been almost a tour, given some of the locations that the film showcased, including Jaipur and Rajasthan, both known to be culturally rich and visually appealing. Dev agreed, “[y]eah, it introduced me to a part of India I had never seen before. Michael (Winterbottom), [the director], really gets into the knitty gritty of the country and there are no frills. Some of the locations we’ve captured are just gorgeous, really gorgeous. I’m really lucky to be part of the entire experience. The best part was that we didn’t go with a big crew so that we could be more undercover and see things we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.”
And working with Radhika Apte, who is having a fantastic run at the movies in the past few years…Well, Dev only has good things to says: “[s]he’s brilliant. She’s just such a force – she’s done so much work in India, despite her young age. She has done a tremendous amount of work. We carry this film together and it was amazing working with her.”
Dev Patel had Lion release last year at the Toronto International Film Festival. This year, he attended TIFF for both Hotel Mumbai and The Wedding Guest.