EastEnders: Dean will expose Shabnam’s “horrible lie”, says Rakhee Thakrar

"Shabnam goes from an absolute high to the absolute low in a moment," reveals the actress

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Shabnam’s hopes for a low-key engagement party are to be dashed next week. First, Kush’s mum Carmel sticks her oar in with her own ideas as to what the occasion should be like. Then comes the big bombshell at the bash that sees Dean cause a commotion when he reveals the truth about his and Shabnam’s child.

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With the baby secret now out in the open and Shabnam left in little doubt that her dad has let slip the truth, viewers can expect further ructions in the Masood house. Actress Rakhee Thakrar – who plays Shabs – reveals all about the upcoming drama and the “huge argument” that lies ahead…

So how does Shabnam feel about the engagement party? She didn’t really want one in first place…
She wanted everything low key. If it it was up to her, she would just quietly get married – she’s not really that bothered about the wedding. She just desperately wants to be a happy family – it’s always been her dream.  

So she’s not keen on the big wedding that her friends and family are planning?
No! She just wants it really simple and I think it’s partly because of that feeling of having all eyes on you and she’s not happy with that. She’s not comfortable with people looking her in the eye, especially after the truth comes out at the engagement party. It’s her worse nightmare!  

But Carmel does want the big do – are they still arguing on the day of the engagement party?
Yes – and this time about the decorations. The thing is they’ve both tried really hard to get along, but I think that the instant they meet, they realise they are very different. Although they’re both very strong and both very controlling, I think it’s about who’s going to give up their control.  

On the day of the engagement party, there is a whole debate about the glitter balls that Carmel’s bought in, but Shabnam has invited half the mosque so she needs it to be conservative. Kush is the poor guy stuck between the two people that he loves and he can’t possibly take one side.  

Can you talk us through the party and how everything is before it goes wrong?  
It’s the first time in ages where it feels like everything could be OK between Masood and Shabnam. She can get her life back on track and her and Kush could be happy together. The engagement party with the dance is all really sweet and she is absolutely besotted with Kush.

Kush gets down on one knee again, can you tell us about that?
It’s really romantic! It’s all really sweet because the initial proposal was so out of the blue and kind of like ‘let’s just do it’. So that moment wasn’t as romantic as it could have been. So to re-enact it there and then at the engagement party in front of everyone they love is so romantic!

However, there is tension between Kush and Shabnam because his 30th birthday is coming up during Ramadan…
Well, during Ramadan you’re supposed to fast, but Kush isn’t a devout Muslim in that way – he does drink and the moment Shabnam hears “party” she knows alcohol will probably be involved.She panics because she needs this whole next period of her life to be absolutely right and and to put her wrongs to rest. So there is a bit of tension there and he gives in because he knows how important it is to her. But I think Shabnam is learning she needs to compromise more and it’s quite interesting the way it plays out.

Do you think in the future she will begin to relax and accommodate to the way he lives his life?
Yeah, I think she has to! She has been so guarded and has only really ever had to think about what she wants to do. But once you are in a marriage it’s all about compromise and I think that’s something she will have to learn to do. I think she will – she loves him enough to do that and you soon see the start of that.

Can you tell us about what happens when Dean crashes the party?
So it is all going really well and everyone is happy and it’s all come off even after all the conflict with Carmel, and at the height of their happiness and joy, in walks Dean and ruins it.

That moment is hugely important for Shabnam – not only is her secret revealed in front of all of her family and friends but this is the first time she hears what her daughter’s new name is. All of a sudden, it’s in the present not the past – it’s right there in front of her. And there is this horrible lie that she told to Dean about the baby dying, which I think she regretted as soon as she said it.

Everything that you could possibly hit her with comes out in that moment, so she crumbles. She goes from an absolute high to the absolute low in a moment. She can’t avoid it anymore.

And this causes another argument with Masood?
Yes – after all the many moments of Masood promising to back away and leave it alone, this really is the final straw. Him going to the Carters is a huge deal and even he knows that. At home, it’s confirmed it was Masood who told the Carters and there’s just this huge argument.  

She gets back at him with the one thing that she can have control over and that’s inviting him to the wedding and Shabnam says he can’t come. That is the one thing she knows that will hurt him as much as he has hurt her. 

He is such a family man and that is the biggest reason he’s gone after Jade in the first place.

So how would Shabnam feel if Jade was to come to the Square?
Her first instinct would be to run. But I think Masood would definitely talk her back. I love their relationship. They know each other inside out and they are the only two that would be brave enough to give each other the real home truths.  

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.

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