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Many parents try to discourage their children from pursuing fanciful dreams in the entertainment world. In Dev Patel’s case, had his dear old mum not insisted he attend a key audition a couple years ago, he would surely be just another charismatic Brit attending college today.

As Patel tells it, “We had a big row about it really. I was like, ‘Mom, you can’t be doing this. I’m not gonna get it. Drop it.’ She’s stubborn, which is a godsend really, and she dragged me down.”

With only a few school productions under his belt, Patel landed the role of a Muslim desperate to get laid in Channel 4’s edgy ensemble drama “Skins.” The show brought him to the attention of Danny Boyle’s casting director for “Slumdog Millionaire.”

After a much longer audition process — try eight or nine callbacks — Patel got the lead role of Jamal, a Mumbai street kid who has a wild run on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

Audiences went crazy for the film at Telluride and Toronto, and Patel is trying to catch his breath as Fox Searchlight plans a major publicity push for the film.