Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel has hit back at critics who suggest he should not be given Indian roles.

The actor, 28, was born and raised in the UK and has Gujarati parents, but said people sometimes question why some of his parts are not given to a “real Indian”.

Patel, stars of films such as Lion and Hotel Mumbai, told the San Francisco Chronicle: “I get flak sometimes because people will say, ‘Why aren’t they giving these roles to a real Indian?’

“I wonder, what does that even mean?

“The only way I can converse with my grandparents is in Gujarati.

“Does that make me real enough?

“Or am I only allowed to witness the moments of prejudice and racism going through airports? Is that the only bit that I’m allowed of the culture?”

Patel went on: “The truth is I’m trying to understand myself better and my heritage, to figure things out, in the movie choices I make.

“That’s been the greatest thing for me in going to India repeatedly.”