Should Dev Patel Play British Roles or Indian Roles?


When you are an actor with a dual-nationality, career choices can become difficult. This difficulty is enhanced when people choose their career to be acting – a profession where one takes on the role of several different personalities.

Actor Dev Patel recently spoke up regarding the racism he endured in the film industry. The British-Indian actor claimed that he finds it difficult to create his own place in an industry where he feels that his talent is ignored due to the color of his skin.

Dev Patel’s Career

Dev Patel was first seen on screen on the uber popular British TV show called Skins. On the show, he played the role of Anwar Kharral. The actor was only 16 years old when he made his acting debut on the show and had no prior acting experience. Despite his efforts to put on a great performance, he revealed in several interviews that fans would deem him as the ‘ugliest cast member.’

After Skins, Dev Patel moved on to another successful role in the film Slumdog Millionaire. Owing to the success of the film on the box office, Patel expected that he would now land better roles both on TV and film. However, the actor revealed that he was only contacted to play stereotypical roles of an Indian man, and that too occasionally.

As the actor waited patiently for more opportunities to excel his acting career, that day never came. He was contacted for mediocre roles such as a goofy sidekick or a taxi driver at most.

Playing a Title Character

We recently saw Dev Patel take on the big screen again with his main character of a white author in the 2019 film The Personal History of David Copperfield. While this opportunity was undoubtedly a great return to the big screen, Patel never stopped feeling discriminated against in the industry.

Patel said that he thinks the discrimination comes from the audience itself. Since the fans are still skeptical about brown actors playing white characters on screen, the racial discrimination extends to the directors and casting crew.

Even when Patel was contacted for his role in The Personal History of David Copperfield, he knew that the director would face immense backlash from the fans for his casting choice. Events like these force Patel to question his position in the film industry, and often results in him second-guessing his choice to become an actor in Britain.

No-Man’s Land

One thing about the film industry is that it can be labelled as no-man’s land. Patel often feels stuck in his profession, wondering where he would truly be allowed to exist. Although acting is the art of taking on another role, Patel wonders what it truly means to be an actor or just be himself.

Despite the racial discrimination that Dev Patel has faced over the years, the actor remains positive that the situation is slowly changing for the better. As the audience becomes more receptive to cultural diversity, they might be able to see Dev Patel as every other male actor someday.