SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE actor Dev Patel, who plays the role of a Sikh waiter in Anthony Maras' HOTEL MUMBAI based on the November 2008 terror attacks, said he felt compelled to be part of the film after his family watched the city burning across TV screens.
Underlying his old link with the Taj Mahal Palace hotel from SLUMDOG, the actor said Danny Boyle did a dance sequence there as an ode to India and its cinema.
"As much as I hated doing it, the dance sequence captured the movie. Then to see in my house in London my parents looking at the TV screens and watching Mumbai burning, it was horrible… And when there is a film being made on it, I felt very compelled to be a part of it." the actor said here.
About his role of Arjun, the Sikh waiter, he said: "This film has so many amazing characters. For me, I wanted to do more with the character of Arjun. I had read this article about Sikh cab drivers in New York being targeted and attacked after the September 11, 2001, attacks and being labelled terrorists.
"I thought we can make this Sikh man, a community extremely underrepresented in cinema, to break stereotypes and educate the audiences about a culture."
Patel said before filming, he visited the hotel and spoke with some of the staff.
"I spoke with the real chef. They want to put this behind. It is a very delicate subject… It is still a very raw for a lot of people." he added.
HOTEL MUMBAI premiered at the on-going Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.