17-year-old naughty and affable, Patel still can't believe that he's part of a film that has made history. In a recent interview he spilled the beans to After Hrs.
How does it feel being a part of a historical movie like Slumdog Millionaire?
I have grown up watching Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. There is a lot of pressure on me as I am the only foreigner amongst the cast. To think, two years ago, I was just a school kid. I was very ignorant about India. But now I absolutely love the place. I have told my mother that some day I will earn enough money to buy a house in Mumbai. After we went back, I started getting withdrawal symptoms. This place is addictive.
What was your reaction the first time you were taken to the slums?
The first time I was taken around, they seemed like a very depressing kind of place. But then I realised that these people don't pity themselves. They are comfortable with where they are. There is this amazing feeling of community which I don't get to see in my hometown in London. There is no privacy. Hats off to these people who stay sane and happy, in spite of their circumstances, in such an environment.
Do you think you have a chance of making it in Bollywood?
I can't have the kind of muscles that Bollywood heroes have. They are so good looking. Hopefully I am looking for some kind of script which will bring me back here...
Is it true that Danny didn't allow your mother to accompany you for shootings?
Yeah. I am 17 so my mom was concerned. But Danny thought she would be distracting. Imagine me doing a love scene in front of my mom! Mom absolutely loves the attention that the film and I are getting right now. She has sacrificed a lot for me to get where I have. In our community, it's not a great thing to be an actor. But mum always stood up for me and wanted to help me realise my dreams.
Do you have a girlfriend?
No. A 100 per cent no. It's too early to have a girlfriend.
Whom do you have a crush on?
I have a crush on all Bollywood actresses, especially Aishwarya Rai and Deepika Padukone. I am too star struck.