Weeknights, 7.00pm

Shortland Street
Weeknights, 7.00pm

The blossoming relationship between nursing manager James Scott (Kiel McNaughton) and nurse Shanti Kumari (Nisha Madhan) comes to an abrupt halt, when they are caught in a compromising position this week on Shortland Street.

Being new to New Zealand, Shanti is confused by all the talk about the Rugby World Cup. So when Scotty mentions that there are a couple of guys getting together to watch it at The I.V, Shanti jumps at the chance to learn about the sport – plus spend some quality time with him.
“Shanti is always open to learning new things about the kiwi way of life, so when she hears that watching rugby may give her an insight into understanding a bit about the culture, she is definitely keen,” says Nisha Madhan. “It also doesn’t hurt that she will get to spend time with Scotty.”

However, the pair quickly run in to problems when they arrive to watch the game and find it is actually a male-only affair – a scenario Shanti’s very strict Indian family would most definitely frown upon.

“I think she does acknowledge deep down that what she is doing may be wrong in the eyes of her family, but she gets swept up in the excitement of it all,” Madhan says. “She is really caught between two different cultures, and in the end her enjoyment overrides her sense of family obligation.”

Having coerced the men into letting her stay, Shanti throws herself into learning the finer details of rugby. Unfortunately, the fun is not destined to last… Back at the hospital, Beth (Hannah Marshall) unwittingly blows Shanti’s ruse, letting her brother, Sunil (Monish Anand), know that Shanti is at the pub. Sunil arrives at the I.V and is appalled to find Shanti wrapped in Scotty’s arms, celebrating the All Black’s victory – the only woman in a room of drunken men.

“The embrace is more about being swept up in the intensity of the moment than anything of a romantic nature,” says Madhan. “But Sunil is not in the mood to listen, and he leaps to his own conclusions, assuming she is doing something to shame her family.”

Mortified, Shanti takes drastic measures to remedy the situation – by resigning from her job at Shortland Street. “I think she feels that the best way to solve all the issues at hand is to get herself out of it completely,” she says. “She doesn’t want to leave, but she knows that by staying she’s always going to be tempted by things that her family won’t approve of. By walking away she is removing herself from temptation – Scotty included.”

Scotty is insistent that Shanti should stay, and promises Sunil he will stay away from her, but Sunil has revelations of his own that will leave Scotty wondering if he really knows Shanti at all.

“There is more to Shanti than meets the eye. She comes across as sweet and innocent, but there are things about her life in India that she doesn’t want her colleagues to know,” says Madhan. “And they are things which will have an impact on the relationships that she has built up in the clinic so far. I think viewers are going to be very surprised in the next couple of weeks.”

Tune in to discover Shanti’s secret on Shortland Street, weeknights on TV2.

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