Dev Patel didn’t need an Oscar to realize he was a winner for his role in Lion, because the film has changed his life and given him a goal to help the street children of India.
The 27-year-old actor, who is currently in Dubai picking up a Chivas Icons award, admits playing the role of an orphan saved from the streets by an Australian couple has really changed him for the better.
While in Dubai, the Slumdog Millionaire star is also hoping to meet with “a bunch of incredibly influential people” in the hope of persuading them to support his #LionHeart campaign, which benefits 11 million children who live on the streets in India.
He admits the initiative he and his movie mom Nicole Kidman created has become “really important to me”.
“The film has changed my life, so it’s really important to try and raise awareness and funds for the three charities within that umbrella – Magic Bus, Childline India, and Railway Children India,” Patel says. “I met a lot of the heads of charities on the press tour, when we started the campaign, me and Nicole… and we started a crowd funding (venture).
“I’ve been to India and shot five films, so I’m very aware of this situation. So while preparing for the role I got to go and visit orphanages and it really was kind of a nourishing and heartbreaking experience. You leave there driven to do the role justice because that’s all you can do as an actor. You put it into the work.”