Shortland Street Weeknights at 7.00pm
New Zealand’s favourite series is back for another year full of highs and lows, tears, laughter and medical drama. This week, a newcomer to Ferndale is guaranteed to cause a stir for loved-up Shortland Street couple Shanti (Nisha Madhan) and Scotty (Kiel McNaughton).
Nurse Shanti Kumari’s betrothed, Dinesh, is about to arrive in the country. While she is aware of this, the full details of his plans certainly come as a surprise to Shanti – who is hoping his visit is brief so no issues arise with her boyfriend, Scotty.
“Dinesh arrives a couple of days early to surprise Shanti and inadvertently meets Scotty who he doesn’t know is Shanti’s boyfriend at the time,” explains Amin Sheikh, who plays Dinesh Jivani. “He’s decided to accept a job at Shortland Street, and while taking part in orientation he bumps into Shanti who is absolutely shocked.”
“Dinesh is really happy to see Shanti again. He is going to be staying in her family home so is right smack in the middle of her life,” Sheikh says. “He’s also working with her in the same department at the hospital. He made the decision to come to New Zealand so he can build a relationship with her.”
Dinesh Jivani is a charming, devoted doctor in his late twenties. Like Shanti, he grew up in India and is proud of his Indian heritage. He studied medicine in India and also spent time training and working in England. “Dinesh has just spent three years working in London, but things didn’t work out there on a personal level,” Sheikh says. “He’s decided to fall back on his families original plans for his betrothal to Shanti.”
As a teenager Dinesh used to scoff at arranged marriages, which he felt had been inflicted on his older siblings. However, when Shanti was introduced to him as a potential wife he was so taken with her the idea of an arranged marriage became more attractive.
“Dinesh genuinely likes the way Shanti is,” Sheikh says. “They grew up together and their families were really close, so they are good friends. I do think on some subconscious level he also sees her as the perfect wife – she is a nurse and that befits his social status as a surgeon, so they’d look very good within the Indian community itself.”
Despite Shanti’s promises that she will be loyal to Scotty, it’s clear that with Dinesh in Ferndale for the long haul, their relationship could suffer. “Dinesh is very clued up and it soon becomes clear that something’s going on between Scotty and Shanti,” explains Sheikh. “He wants to win her over and is quite confident this will happen. He doesn’t see Scotty as a real threat. Dinesh is used to getting his way and as far as he’s concerned, he and Shanti are going to get married and they will live happily ever after.”
Find out if Shanti’s relationship with Scotty can withstand a new threat, on Shortland Street, weeknights at 7.00pm on TV2.