“It’s good, it’s much more tiring than I thought it would be but it’s great. We’re lucky because we’ve done a film which quite a lot of people like so it makes it a lot better to talk about something that people have enjoyed watching.
What was it like working with Danny on a one-to-one basis?
“He observes a lot, and I guess that’s great, as a director you need to do that. But sometimes you stop and without even knowing it he’ll be staring at you. You’ll be wondering what he’s thinking about but he’s so aware and stimulated by his environment, to watch in his natural habitat on set, he’s just great.
“We didn’t storyboard on this film, it’s easy to just show a storyboard and say ‘this is how it’s going to look,’. Without that you’re explaining to this whole crew about what your vision in your mind is, and he’s so great at articulating what he wants to get out of the scene.
“And the same with the actors, he’s so good at pinpointing the emotion that they’re feeling. Sometimes there’s four or five and he’s so engaging as a director, especially for me because I really had very parallels for my character because we live at totally different ends of the world, and are in totally different situations in life.
“He’s got a knack for taking you deep and getting you to that point of emotion, that level. He’s like Mr Miyagi, he always takes the Mick out of me but I can’t take it out of him, because there’s that level of respect you just have for someone you think is great at their job and you admire. I can’t say that to him because he’s way to modest. It would be weird. But he is.
And you will also have worked closely with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, didn’t you?
“He’s awesome, for me especially. Doing Skins I didn’t really understand the technical side to acting, about toning down your performance for a closer shot. He was really very patient with me, I guess he and Danny together.
“He was great, he took time out to show me stuff. Whenever they were doing their own thing they would say ‘see this?’, and he was great. He sort of looked out for me and didn’t let me get swallowed in this swamp of this chaotic film set, which was good.
“My first scene on set was the call centre scene, that was so scary because there are lots of lines in that scene and a bit of comedy and then all of a sudden he calls his brother and it’s tense.
“I remember Anthony kept on going ‘it’s good, it’s good, keep it up Dev,’. He’s very encouraging. You can tell he’s a cinematographer who’s done loads of films and worked with lots of actors. He’s very encouraging with us new guys on set, he was good to show us the ropes like that.
Had you watched your character’s back-story?
“As soon as I landed there, the first night Christian [Colson, producer] asked if I wanted to go and see the rushes, to see what these kids had done. It was the best decision, I said I’d do it despite the jetlag and watched it because God did we have to raise our game after we saw these kids act.
“They were amazing, they’re the raw products and seeing them do their thing in utter simplicity, without over analysing things like I sometimes tend to do………and so much energy as well, which is great.
“When I read the script I read the whole thing, and all the cool, energetic scenes were snatched away from me and I was stuck in a hot seat or handcuffed to a chair, so the life was sucked out of it.
“So just to see what it was like then was good, that was still there, I could emote some these things actually knowing that he was an uplifted kid. It was just done earlier on in his life.
Is it easy to play as Mumbai resident, even with your Indian heritage, did you study that hard or did you rely on your co-stars to help you through that?
“A bit of both, really. I’m a lot different now. My biggest hindrance, I guess, was my accent. I found that so hard, I wish in hindsight that I’d pushed for an accent coach because it was so tricky.
“It was so tricky putting on an accent in a city with so many different accents in the way they talk. But it was fun, I really enjoyed it, you know? I loved putting little things in that I don’t think a lot of people noticed, like my first scene was carrying the tea around.
“So much of my footage was cut because of time issues, for the length of the film. So I wait for her at VT Station for a long time, so we did a big montage of that. I was standing there trying to be as inconspicuous and normal as possible, and little things, to make him look relaxed in this atmosphere, like he’s been delivering this tea [forever].
“It’s instinctive, he doesn’t need to think about spilling it, he can just do it, bang, bang, bang. Most of that was cut, which was sad, but it was great fun.
Has making this film reconnected you to your roots?
“Yeah, it sounds cheesy but it has. You go out there and you see things, I don’t really know how to explain it but I guess it’s just going there. Sometimes I did feel like a fish out of water, but sometimes I just felt so at home that I could kick my shoes off and just be there and relax.
“I don’t really know how to explain that feeling. The music that is played there, I’d grown up around Bollywood films, and the food, I don’t know. It was great, I felt really fulfilled, and I matured a lot being there.
“I guess it was a partly to do with being the lead in the film and having a lot of pressure on my shoulders. But again, just being there. Even when I wasn’t with all these goes I was there alone. I remember in Karjat, at the studios out there, sitting there.
“I love taking walks by myself, I don’t do that in London or anything like that, just to look around and be content. It was nice.
How will you feel the next time you flick through the channels and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is on, with that familiar music, lighting and set?
“I have already, it’s so surreal. I didn’t realise it when I was there filming it all. I’ve watched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire so many times, just with my family, and when I was sitting there opposite Anil Kapoor I thanked God I’d watched it, because I remember some of the things the contestants used to do.
“But it’s weird, I remember being on the computer and hearing the music when my Dad was watching it, and I just turned around and had to giggle to myself.
Have you experienced positive benefits as a result of this film – have you got an American agent now for example?
“I haven’t had people queuing at my door or anything like that. I guess I’ll have to carry on auditioning. I didn’t really expect much but I’ve got an American agent now which is quite nice.”