How actor Dev Patel spent eight months preparing for "Lion"

When actor Dev Patel first read the script of “Lion,” he said he immediately recognized it as “an astounding anthem of humanity.”

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Actor Dev Patel

CBS News

The critically-acclaimed film tells the true story of a 5-year-old Indian boy named Saroo who gets separated from his family on a train. He struggles to survive on the streets of Calcutta and is eventually adopted by an Australian family. More than 20 years later, Saroo, played by Patel, embarks on a mission to find his birth family.

“Journeys like this are really few and far between for an Indian actor like myself. … I went on this long, eight-month kind of pilgrimage as this character, traveling across the trains in India, meeting the most incredible people, trying to change my accent and the way I looked. I really grew as an individual,” Patel said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” 

Patel, who rose to fame in his 2008 breakout role in “Slumdog Millionaire,” is currently nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in “Lion.” He said he related to the mother-son aspect of the story because he’s a “mummy’s boy.”

“Saroo is really lucky because he’s got these two pillars of love at either end of the world,” Patel said. “He’s got this amazing Indian mother who raised these three children alone. They really struggled. She was a laborer. He was torn away from her and lost on this train, and then he had a second chance at life with this Australian family.”

He said the film is also about identity.  

“Growing up in London, having that duality of being British and also an Indian – those ideas of home and roots and culture really resonate with me in a big way,” Patel said. 

Patel also gave a shoutout to director Garth Davis and the cast. 

“There’s no CGI or anything like that – we’re reacting to real landscapes, the beautiful, sweeping Tasmania, you’ve got India – and everyone came to it very emotionally pregnant,” Patel said. 

Watch the video above to find out why Patel isn’t on social media.