Dev Patel (Gujarati: દેવ પટેલ; born 23 April 1990) is a British film and television actor. He is known for his performances as Anwar Kharral in the UK television teen drama series Skins and, on a more global scale, as the main male lead Jamal Malik in Danny Boyle's critically acclaimed and multiple Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008), for which Patel won a number of awards, including a Critics' Choice Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Patel was born in Harrow, England, to Gujarati Indian parents, both of whom were born in Nairobi, Kenya, where there is a significant Indian community. His parents both emigrated from Kenya separately in their teens, and only met in London. His mother, Anita, is a carer, and his father, Raj, an IT consultant. He has one sibling, an older sister named Komal. He was raised in the Hindu faith.
Patel grew up in Rayners Lane, Harrow, and attended Longfield Middle School. He had his first acting role as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in the school's production of Twelfth Night. Patel was given the Best Actor award for his performance and says that was the day he knew he wanted to become an actor. He later went to Whitmore High School, receiving an A* in GCSE Drama, for his "self-penned portrayal of a child in the Beslan school siege". During the exam Patel moved his examiner to tears! His dramateacher Niamh Wright has stated: "Dev was a gifted student who quickly impressed me with his innate ability to communicate a wide variety of characters imaginatively and creatively. ... He was awarded full marks for his GCSE performance to a live audience and the visiting examiner was moved to tears by his honest portrayal of a child in the Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia." He eventually completed his AS Levels in PE, Biology, History and Drama in 2007, while he was working in Skins.