The cult movie of 2008, Slumdog Millionaire featured the boyish Dev Patel as the humble tea-boy, Jamal Malik. Fast forward to 2016, Dev Patel is a successful British actor of Indian descent and has shed the boyish looks to embrace a mature, masculine and rugged look replete with long hair and beard. We are completely dazed and totally crushing over this amazing metamorphosis that Dev has undergone for his movie, Lion. For those who have been hibernating under the rock, Lion is an Australian-American-British drama film based on the non-fiction novel, Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley.

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The movie also stars Nicole Kidman, David Wenham , Rooney Mara, Priyanka Bose and Nawazuddin Siddiqui  in significant roles. The movie etches the heart rendering story of a young man named Saroo, who was adopted by a loving Australian family at the tender age of five and chronicles his journey back to India in search of his biological parents and brother using Google Earth. Speaking about his role as Saroo, Dev elucidated on how the director Garth Davis wanted him to look like a Dev Patel no one had ever seen before. Gearing up for this challenge, Dev asked his manager to clear his schedule for the next eight months and refrained from taking any other work or appearing for auditions. Dev acknowledged the fact that opportunities like Lion do not come often for a person who looks the way he does and acknowledges the struggle to convince casting directors to look beyond his skin color. So whilst Dev underwent a drastic physical metamorphosis, he also spent eight months to perfect the Tasmanian accent that the real life Saroo has and also spent time with his Indian and Australian parents to understand the nuances.  (ALSO READ: Forget Priyanka Chopra! Priyanka Bose is the next International sensation, totally slayin it with her uber cool style!)

The 26-year old actor of Indian descent, Dev was born in London. Just like Saroo, Dev too was always curious about his family’s roots and heritage. He reminisces his childhood riddled with the hiding of his culture to adapt and fit in. He agrees to have shunned a part of himself to avoid bullying and try to be like everyone else. Shooting for Slumdog Millionaire dispelled his stereotypes on India and Indian women compelling him to learn more about his heritage.

The movie has been garnering rave reviews and the award buzz. Critic David Rooney lauded Dev’s performance as “arguably his most nuanced and heartfelt screen work” in Lion. Lion is inevitably being compared to Slumdog Millionaire, courtesy the casting of Dev Patel and the common theme of a young Indian boy trying to break the shackles of poverty. Dev disregards such parallels as stereotypical and shameful.

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Saroo Brierley, the man who traversed his way back to his parents after two decades, chose to live with his parents throughout the process of publishing the books and production of the movie. Saroo saw the movie in Sydney and raved that the film has rightly justified the reality. Reminiscing on his journey, Saroo comments, “Even though it was the wrong train it sort of took me to the right station.” Lion is slated to release on Nov 25.

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At the Governor’s Awards and the AFI fest, Dev Patel was snapped looking dapper in a suit and the signature long locks. beard and mustache- all grown up, mature, rugged and totally drool worthy!

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While his adolescence in Slumdog Millionaire charmed us, Dev Patel has indeed come a long way with Lion. treading on new grounds, Dev is certainly a promising talent to look out for and we wish him success in his future endeavors!If you haven’t already, catch the trailer of the movie here!