Desi Rascals – Meet the Cast: Shreekant Patel, Natalie & Jo Shah and Manoj & Celia Shah
Here’s more of the Desi Rascals who will be coming to your screens on 20 January on Sky Living.
CHARACTER: Father to Shreena, Shreekant often jokes that she is his favourite daughter. Most certainly the apple of his eye, he will find it difficult to adapt to life without her at home. Endearing and loving, Shreekant is a family man who will always be there for his three daughters.
So how would you describe yourself in a tweet?
Quite ordinary, happy, always joking and easy going. Who are you closest to in the series? Probably Shreena, being the youngest daughter, but they have all been close to me. Girls are closer to their dads, my sons are closer to their mum.
Who do you most admire?
I admire my guru who is my role model. He is everything. I always pray before I leave home and so does my family. He is the main inspiration in our lives.
And what is your idea of a good time? What do you like to do?
Spending two days of the week in the temple. That’s the best time of the whole week, I look forward to going there on Saturday and Sunday.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Just being a dad, looking after kids, growing up with them and getting rid of one. Also, qualifying as an engineer. I stayed with one company for 40 years, people wouldn’t do that in this day and age.
If you could go back and relive any moment again what would that moment be?
Having my first child or getting married. My wedding was 40 years ago and it was fantastic although it can’t be compared to Shreena’s wedding.
If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
I can’t think of anyone special really. I don’t want to be too rich. I’m content with who I am.
PROFESSION: Assistant supermarket manager/supervisor
CHARACTER: Natalie is the attractive, vivacious eldest daughter of the Shah family. Opinionated Natalie is protective of her younger sister Jo and they love spending time together, despite the fact that Natalie isn’t a big fan of Jo’s career choices. She has recently come out of a serious relationship and gained a new lease of life.
PROFESSION: Performer/Bollywood dancer
CHARACTER: Gorgeous girl-next-door Jo is happiest when surrounded by her loveable family. Ambitious and full of life, she is determined to make it in the competitive performing arts world. Her dad, however, has other ideas – he would love his youngest daughter to secure a more stable job and
to settle down with ‘a nice Indian boy’.
What are each other’s best and worst qualities?
Jo: Why are you thinking for so long?
Natalie: Jo’s best quality is that she has a heart of gold and her worst quality is that she takes so long to get ready.
J: Can I just say about getting ready, it’s not that I need to take ages but I like taking my time and I get up early to do it. I hate rushing.
Are you quite similar or are you chalk and cheese?
N: I wouldn’t say chalk and cheese but I wouldn’t say we’re similar. We have lots of similar interests like music and dancing.
J: We like to go out and do different types of activities.
N: We’re not shopping and having coffee kind of girls.
J: I’ve done lots of performing and things, whereas Nat does more serious work, so that’s how we’re different.
Were you nightmare teenagers for your parents?
N: They’d probably say I was.
Who are you closest to, your mum or dad?
J: Oh mum.
N: Yeah, well mum brought us up really.
J: Dad’s always been at work.
N: We do different things to support dad so when we were younger we would go to the cricket and the park with him.
J: And golf.
What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for each other?
N: For Jo’s last birthday, I made her one of those paper things you had at school that you open and close.
J: And I got to pick what I wanted to do for my birthday.
N: So I wrote loads of things inside, ideas of things for us to do which I knew she’d like.
J: And we went to Benihana. Oh my God, I really, really wanted to go there.
N: We went to Harrods as well. One Christmas Jo went to Singapore and her Christmas present to all of us was a home video she’d made.
If you could walk in someone else’s shoes for one day who would it be?
N: I think we’re going to say the same person. I was going to say Kate Middleton.
J: I was going to say J-Lo.
N: Oh okay.
PROFESSION: Senior bank manager
CHARACTER: Manoj is a doting father to daughters Jo and Natalie and devoted husband to delightful Celia. Down-toearth Manoj is a family man and enjoys getting the family together for fun activities – anything from bingo to crazy golf. To put it simply, when his family are happy, he’s happy… but he’d be even happier to see both of his daughters married.
PROFESSION: Healthcare assistant and phlebotomist
CHARACTER: Devoted mum Celia is the lynchpin of her extremely close-knit family. Softly spoken but certainly no walkover, Celia keeps the family in line and acts as a confidante for her headstrong daughters. Celia is a keen gardener, enjoys singing in her local church choir and is a fervent supporter of her beloved Arsenal FC.
You’ve been married for 32 years. What do you think is the secret to a successful marriage?
Celia: Well we don’t live in each other’s pockets, we give each other space. We do our own thing and we do things as a family.
Manoj: If we have any problems, we work on them, it’s very simple. When we first met, it was quite hard for us because, in the early 80s, ours was deemed to be an Asian-white relationship.
Would you say you were a romantic couple?
C: Not particularly, not after 32 years!
M: Probably not. Celia raised the children and we put our lives on hold because I was working long hours. It’s only now that we have…
C: …Time for each other
You’re the only man in your house. Would you say you are more in touch with your feminine side because of that? Do you borrow the moisturising cream?
C: No, and he won’t watch Strictly Come Dancing either!
M: I’m a sportsman, I watch golf and love my football. I support Arsenal football team, I’ve supported them since I was ten years old.
C: I love football, I love the Arsenal.
If you had to single out your best and worst personality traits, what would they be?
C: Manoj is a worrier and I’m calmer but he’s really easy going and very friendly. He’s a good mixer whereas I’m a bit more shy. We’re comfortable with how things are but this has put us out of our comfort zone. It’s exciting.
Are you proud parents?
C: Definitely, our children are our whole life.
M: The whole dynamic of our family was to make sure that the kids were well educated. I had to leave school and go to work. Because we’d come from Africa, we needed the money to pay the mortgage.