As Dev Patel chased down the character of Arjun a turbaned Sikh working under Chef Hemant Oberoi in Anthony Maras’ upcoming film Hotel Mumbai, he knew it was uphill task preparing for the part that’s so far removed from his real self. Patel was born and raised in England by Gujarati Indian Hindu parents but he had great compassion for the Sikh community who bore the brunt of the 9/11 attacks.
The actor understood the hate came from the lack of representation of Sikh characters in international films that triggered him to reason with his director why Arjun should be a Sikh in the film.
Talking about his prep, he said, “I spent about a month with my coach Raghuveer Joshi working on the accent and the pitch. Since the character is fictional, there was no reference point. Looks-wise we built him up from ground zero. I had to completely change my appearance, work on my Hindi and Punjabi at the same time and ensure that the words sound correct in terms of tonality. I had done neither of these before but I am glad the film made me push myself to try out an uncharted territory personally. The story is close to me as I was shooting here for one month and the next in my house in London my parents looking at the TV screens and watching Mumbai burning, it was horrible!”