Rana Nazir’s scandalous affair with Kate Connor is exposed to the whole of Coronation Street next week, setting off a dramatic chain of events that leads to the nurse being kidnapped by her own parents in an attempt to bury the truth about her sexuality.
While Rana’s parents have known about their daughter’s dalliance with Kate for months and invested money in husband Zeedan’s business if the pair agree to a sham marriage – with the specific condition Rana end her affair – to avoid shame on the family name, the truth is outed in spectacular fashion when Rana’s sister-in-law Alya discovers her and Kate canoodling next Monday.
“Rana felt like she owed it to Zeedan after what she put him through to go along with the financial agreement,” says Bhavna Limbachia, who plays Rana. “It’s her way of putting things right for breaking his heart. She’s ridden with guilt he’s been forced to accept this situation.”
Blowing apart the arrangement with the Habeebs by blabbing to the entire street, Alya throws Kate out of the flat and potentially jeopardises Zee’s restaurant venture.
“Rana’s family are absolutely disgusted and feel betrayed that she’s broken the terms of the contract,” continues Limbachia. “In desperation to cover up the shame they take drastic measures to ensure Rana and Kate can’t be together.”
Rana’s mother Saira then opens up to her daughter that her sister is dying and she needs to go to Pakistan to be with her. Using emotional blackmail on Rana that her dad is too angry about her romance with Kate to go, guilt-ridden Rana suggests she accompany her mum to her aunt’s deathbed. But Limbachia teases all is not as it seems…
“The only way Rana can win her mum round is to be her support system for her dying sister. She feels so guilty and ashamed of what she’s done that she doesn’t question anything.”
On Wednesday, suspicious Yasmeen Nazir asks Imran to investigate his mother’s story, and Rana’s big brother discovers Saira has made the whole thing up and his parents are planning to smuggle his sis out of the country to avoid her disgracing the family name now her relationship with Kate is public knowledge.
The race is on to stop Rana boarding the plane and being held captive by her kin, but can Kate get to her girlfriend before it’s too late?
“Rana wants to do right by everybody,” sighs Limbachia. “She feels she’s disappointed her parents and brought shame on the family. I’ve been working with the Naz and Matt Foundation and heard many stories about saving face in the community. Parents go to extreme measures to cover up anything they don’t agree with, and physical violence and kidnappings are not uncommon within the Asian community when it comes to their child’s sexuality.
“This issue is still very taboo in many communities and it’s important to raise awareness. As for Rana’s future, life will never be the same again for her after these episodes, but I hope the end goal of Rana and Kate being together can be realised. I think they’ll be willing to fight all the way.”
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