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Dev Patel and Freida Pinto
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The young 'uns of Slumdog Millionaire

It has been a dream debut for Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, the young stars of the award-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

The actors talk about working with the "incredible" Danny Boyle and Oscar buzz around the film.

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Dev Patel goes first

Dev Patel is not a household name. But in February, there is quite a possibility this British Indian actor could walk up to the stage at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles to receive an Oscar for his role in Slumdog Millionaire. And the first person he would thank is his mother. A lot of actors do that, but really, Dev would not have turned overnight star, had it not been for his mother.

At 18, Patel is a typical London-born teenager. He is tall, slim, with goofy ears, and a winsome smile. Also, he has this nervous energy which his mother tried to channel in the right directions -- introducing him to musical instruments and martial arts.

Then, a couple of years ago, she saw in advertisement -- an open casting all for teenagers for the TV show, Skins. And no experience was necessary. "I always wanted to become an actor," says Dev, whose parents migrated to Britain from Kenya. His father is an accountant and his mother a caregiver. "My mum took me to the audition. There were drama students doing their warm-ups. And I was there with my mum."

The success of his role in Skins led to an audition call for director Danny Boyle's film, Slumdog Millionaire. "There was a good-looking actor in front of me with his girlfriend," Dev says. "And I was this skinny guy with my mum. I was so embarrassed. And then, Danny opened the door and he said, 'You’re next' and I said, 'Wow that is Danny Boyle'!"

Text: Aseem Chhabra | PEOPLE magazine

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