Dev Patel has explained how his new film, Monkey Man – which he wrote, directed and stars in – is both "a Trojan horse and a gateway drug".


Although the film is primarily a high-octane, brutal action flick focusing on an underground street fighter's epic quest for revenge in a fictional Indian city, it also packs in plenty of political commentary and references to Indian culture.

And this was something which was very important to Patel, as he explained in an exclusive interview with

"It's a Trojan horse and also it's a gateway drug," he said. "You know, I didn't want it to just be like a history lesson in politics, or religion, or the caste system, or the third gender in India.

"I wanted to touch on these things, and kind of bring these subjects that either people are afraid to talk about or they're kind of like figures in society that are kind of brushed away to the sides - bring them in and give them some real estate in a movie that normally should just be filled with punches and kicks."

More like this

He added: "And the idea is if the film is palpable enough, if it's engaging enough, then hopefully people will go back and be like, oh, I don't know, man, Indian mythology. Who's that drummer? You know, who's that... and create a conversation."

Read more:

The film has received rave reviews and enjoyed a rapturous reception at last month's SXSW Festival, where it had its world premiere and won the Audience Award.

And Patel also explained how that reception was especially meaningful to him given the sometimes painful process of getting to the finishing line with the film.

"It was really pretty grim at moments," he explained.

"And when it played the way it played, and we won the Audience Award, I mean, it was... yeah, it was a blessing."

Monkey Man was released in UK cinemas on Friday 5th April 2024. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.