The ex-EastEnders star has opened up about his role in his family’s business and some shocking racial abuse they have faced in their community
Former BBC star Nitin Ganatra OBE is working in his brother’s shop three years after leaving the cast of EastEnders.
The actor, who received an OBE for his services to drama this year, likes to help out in his siblings’ shop in Coventry between acting roles.
Nitin, 54, is best known for his role as Masood Ahmed at EastEnders from 2007 to 2019 but hasn’t let fame go to his head, even helping out with paper rounds.
The former EastEnders veteran says he and his family were forced to fend off racist thugs who smashed the corner shop’s windows last year.
Speaking of Manufactured in the Midlands Podcast, Nitin explained his role in maintaining the store: “The corner shop has been around for over 45 years. My brother still runs it. On Sunday I did the paperwork with him.
“I was up at 4:30, doing the papers and trying not to mess up the paper. There’s still penny chews and the candy jars, all those nice little things.”
The actor said the attack on the store in 2021 reminded him of the animosity his family experienced when he was younger.
He said: “The windows were smashed and my brother was attacked last year.
Jonathan Hipkiss/Birmingham Mail)
“Often people would throw stones at the windows and the house, they would come in and destroy the shop.
“My father was attacked, but he also fought back, and my brother was attacked and my mother was spat on. It wasn’t everyday, but it was an angry, volatile time.”
He also spoke openly about racist attacks he experienced at the hands of bullies during his school days.
Nitin said: “I don’t have many school friends, but I have a friend who lives in the Midlands, he’s a musician, and I remember him saying to me, ‘What I liked about you was that you got beat up every day and yelled the P-word, and you got up anyway and carried on like nothing had happened.”
Reflecting on the abuse he was subjected to, the actor said he thought it was “normal behavior” at the time.
The EastEnders favorite made his name as postman Masood Ahmed, who was married to Strictly Come Dancing character Zainab, played by Nina Wadia.
He briefly left the show in 2016 before returning in 2017 and leaving the show for good in early 2019.
On his exit from the soap opera, Nitin said: “I can now open up to new horizons as an actor. I still have a deep connection with Masood and put a lot of emotion into making this character memorable.
“I’m amazed at how loved he is by viewers and fans of all ages, cultures and religions and walks of life. Thanks very much. I am humbled by love.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/eastenders-star-nitin-ganatra-working-26398681 EastEnders star Nitin Ganatra works in his brother's shop after giving up the Masood role