Shabnam Masood has had an emotional time on ‘EastEnders’ recently, and actress Rakhee Thakrar has now explained that things aren’t set to get any easier.
Shabnam and Kush are still grieving for their son Zaair, however in the coming weeks, viewers will see Rakhee’s character launch a custody bid for her daughter Jade.
Ahead of the dramatic scenes, Rakhee has spoken to HuffPost UK, revealing how Shabnam’s determination to gain custody of her daughter will affect her other relationships.
Here’s what she had to say…
How does Shabnam feel when Kush goes behind her back, and tells Jade’s social worker about Zaair?
Shabnam didn’t want to not talk about the baby to the social worker. For her to omit what happened with her little boy increased her feelings of guilt. She lashes out at Kush to deflect her own feelings. She would love to say the [baby’s] name, but she couldn’t, partly because she’s angry that it would jeopardise her chances with Jade. But I think the biggest thing - though she doesn’t say this - is that beneath there is anger, as she should have said his name.
Does she see it as a betrayal?
In the first instance yes, because her concern for Jade is really strong at the moment. And for anything to jeopardise that, and for her to go into the care of people she thinks aren’t suitable, is a huge deal. There is a sense of ‘why did he do that behind her back’, but I think it gets resolved quite quickly.
It’s such a complicated time, because their grief is still raw and everyone has their own way of dealing with it. There’s no instruction book on how to deal with it, and what you’re seeing is people not quite connecting. But eventually you do see them resolve things, and she understands why he did it.
Is Shabnam truly dealing her emotions?
I don’t think she knows how to. She’s always been a very private person, and dealt with things just by getting on with it. There’s always been a large level of ignoring the pain in her life, or blocking it out. But I think now, it’s too much, and it’s always bubbling under the surface. It comes out in unexpected bursts and she doesn’t know how to handle it, it’s like an animal of its own.
Is Shabnam ready to take on Dean and Shirley in the custody battle?
Yes, in her eyes, she’s absolutely ready because she’s fighting for her daughter. I think she’s strongest, and most motivated, when she’s fighting for someone that she loves. I know from stories I’ve read, and women that I’ve met, that there’s nothing more fierce or protective than a bereaved parent, so I think she’s absolutely ready for them.
We’ve recently seen Shabnam reconnecting with Stacey, how will their friendship fare in the coming months?
We’ve seen them starting to become friends again, but she’s pregnant and for any bereaved mother that is extremely difficult. You see all the stages you should have gone through and also, you’re willing their baby to be OK. You can’t help but think about what can go wrong in the world, so it’s difficult for her to be friends with Stacey but I think Shabnam will push through that and force herself to be by her side and help with her pregnancy.
I think you just see her putting on a brave face for Stacey, but later, Stacey’s cross about Jade. Their friendship is very special, and you see the most honest admission of feelings from Shabnam when she’s with Stacey, which just shows how complicated grief is. It’s not straightforward at all.
Masood can often seem lost and slightly helpless, how will he help Shabnam deal with her grief?
I don’t know how she would have handled the day in the hospital without her Dad. He may come across as a little tactless, but he’s the strongest male in her life. She asked him to come to the hospital that day because she could see that Kush wasn’t going handle it. Her dad is a strong man, and he might mess up from time-to-time but when it counts, he’s there. What he doesn’t do is fuss like Carmel. He’ll let the kids take things at their own pace. He’s the only one who can cut through all of her layers, and say ‘you’re acting out of line here’ and he’ll do that when it’s needed.