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Upen Patel was born on 16 August 1980 in Tottenham, North London, England. His parents had moved from Uganda in East Africa to settle down permanently in the United Kingdom. His family ancestry roots trace back to Gujarat, India. His mother is a lawyer working with the government of UK. He attended Wembley High School, London. Patel studied media course at West Herts College, and then moved to the University of Hertfordshire to study for a BSc degree in Computer Science. Patel started modelling in London at an early age. Still in his teens, he started working as a catalogue model.
Patel continued modelling assignments in London, while he was still a student. In 2002, Patel visited India to participate in Zee TV's Supermodel Hunt. He won the contest and came into limelight in the Indian modelling and fashion industry. He, then, appeared in India Fashion Week, New Delhi. Atul Kasbekar, India's leading fashion photographer, chose him to model for designer JJ Valaya's first ever men's couture campaign.
He was judged as the Model of the Year for four consecutive years at the Asia Fashion Award, besides getting featured among the top 10 sexiest men in Asia for five years running. MTV India awarded him as the most stylish male for two years in a row.
He has worked with India's biggest designers including Wendell Rodricks, Rohit Bal, Manish Malhotra and JJ Valaya on runway and in campaigns. He has also done modelling projects with global fashion leaders including Versace, Hugo Boss, Ermenegildo Zegna and Tommy Hilfiger.
Patel has done various TV commercials.
Patel has appeared in several music videos. His most notable music video was for DJ Suketu's remix album, Bed Lounge, for its track Kya khoob lagti ho, which was remix version of the song from the 1970s. The video was released in 2005 and also featured actress Udita Goswami. The music video, with several special effects, was directed and choreographed by Ahmed Khan. It was the most expensive music video of its time shot for a private album.
In May 2006, Patel made his Bollywood début with the film 36 China Town, directed by the duo Abbas-Mustan, and also starred Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna. The film did fairly well at the box office and Patel won the IIFA Award for Best Début (Male).
His next Bollywood movie, Namaste London, released in March 2007, with the star-cast of Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, was a box office success. The film was shot in India and UK, and Patel played the character of a Pakistani Muslim living in London.
A month later, in April 2007, his third film Shakalaka Boom Boom was released, which was produced and directed by Suneel Darshan. The film failed to do good business at the box office and was declared a flop.
In his next movie, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai, he played the role of a struggling model hoping to make it big. The film also featured Govinda, Aftab Shivdasani, Hansika Motwani and Celina Jaitley and hit the big screens in July 2008.
Patel made a guest appearance in March 2008 film, One Two Three.
After a gap of almost one and half year, his subsequent movie, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, was released in November 2009. The film starred Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in lead roles. The film was a hit at the box office.
Patel is set to make his début in Tamil film industry with the movie, I, scheduled to be released in January 2015, and would feature the star-cast of Vikram, Suresh Gopi and British actress Amy Jackson.
Patel worked for the weekly cooking show Cook Na Kaho on Star One. The show started in November 2004, and the concept was inspired from Karen Anand’s popular book Simple Cooking For Stupid Men. About the show, Patel said in an interview, "The show is aimed at bachelors who want to whip up something at home that takes very little time but doesn’t taste like what the cat dragged in." However, in March 2005, he was replaced by Shayan Munshi.
Patel is presently working with Endemol for their daily reality television show, Bigg Boss as a contestant. The show, presently in its 8th season, is based on Dutch-based TV series Big Brother, where a group of celebrities live together in a big house, completely isolated from the outside world and vie for cash prize in the end. One of the contestants gets eliminated every week, based on public votes. The show went on air in September 2014 on Colors. Patel said he travelled to India to participate in the show to "gain experience". The host of the show, Salman Khan replied, "This place (Bigg Boss) gives an experience like no other." NDTV commented that he participated in show to give his career a boost, and that with this show he'd be "trailing a second innings".
|2006||36 China Town||Rocky||Winner, IIFA Best Male Debut Award
Winner, Zee Cine Award for Best Male Debut
|2007||Namastey London||Imran Khan|
|2007||Shakalaka Boom||Reggie Kapoor|
|2008||One Two Three||Chandu|
|2008||Money Hai Toh Honey Hai||Manik Khiralal|
|2009||Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani||Rahul Jalan|
|2012||Run Bhola Run||Unreleased|
Awards and nominations
Star Screen Awards
Zee Cine Awards
- 2007: IIFA Awards' Best Debutant (Male); 36 China Town
Global Indian Film Awards
- 2006: Best Debut Actor; 36 China Town
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- "Upen Patel – Top Indian Model". Top Indian Models. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Goyal, Divya. "Upen Patel: Trailing a Second Innings". NDTV Convergence Limited. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- JAWED, ZEESHAN (17 August 2005). "Hot sight ’n’ sound" (Calcutta). The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "TELEVISION - Food for thought" (December 5, 2004). The Tribune. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "TELEVISION - Cook’s corner". The Tribune. March 6, 2005. Retrieved 30 November 2014.