Oscar nominee Dev Patel has said flying into America felt like “a nightmare” after Donald Trump’s travel ban was announced.
The British star, who will compete for best supporting actor at the Academy Awards and the Baftas for his role in Lion, said he has been shaken by the political developments in the country he now lives in.
He told the Press Association: “I’ve decided not to be quiet about how I’m feeling. I live here now. I have a home here. When I arrived back from India I felt like I was entering into a nightmare.
“I’m really grateful to the people out there marching and standing outside airports and all the protesters.”
Patel, who shot to fame in Slumdog Millionaire after his break-out role in British teen drama Skins, said unveiling Lion feels very different to his experiences promoting the film that made him a star.
He said: “When Slumdog first premiered it was the time people were passing around badges that read Hope, and (Barack) Obama was about to step up and there was a beautiful loving atmosphere in the air, and the film spoke to that.
“Now we are in a very different stage, we socially, politically, feel more tender. People are worried.
“As an actor I am having conversations about how relevant it is to promote a film when the fabric of society is fraying.
“But I snuck into the end of a screening to watch the last seven minutes and was quite moved by the message it is putting out of unification and love that transcends continents. It makes me happy.”
In Lion, Patel plays a young man who was separated from his family as a child in India and was adopted by a family in Australia and uses Google Earth to find his way home.
Patel has racked up a string of awards nods, alongside his co-star Nicole Kidman. He said: “It hits me in waves every so often.
“When I’m doing interviews and people introduce me as an Oscar nominee, it’s so strange and beautiful and emotional, it’s crazy.
“Just a week ago I was working through the slums of Mumbai finishing off the journey of another film and the next minute I’m prancing down the red carpet, it’s quite a juxtaposition.”
He said the role offered him something that had been lacking in other parts.
“To have that opportunity, having never been given that opportunity before, that was the ultimate award. It reconfigured me as a person.
“Slumdog was my first film, and afterwards I was hungry and felt like I had been exposed to a film maker (Danny Boyle) that had taught me the nuances.
“I was hungry to explore other characters but there wasn’t anything to follow it up with. I was frustrated. That makes me appreciate this role so much more, after the struggle to keep the rent paid.”
Lion is in UK cinemas now. The Baftas take place on February 12, while the Oscars will be handed out on February 26.