Rishi Sharma (Bhasker Patel) seems like one of Emmerdale’s most genial and pleasant characters – not the sort to be thoughtlessly cruel, throwing painful incidents from someone’s past at them to be deliberately hurtful.
But everyone has a snapping point, especially when alcohol is involved, and in upcoming episodes of the ITV soap Rishi stuns Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) – a woman he’s actually very fond of – by saying some unbearably hurtful things to her.
With Jai (Chris Bisson)’s wedding to Laurel coming up, Rishi is struggling with the rift that’s opened up between him and his son since Jai discovered that Rishi is his father by adoption, and not biologically. The most hurtful thing for Jai to deal with was the realisation that Rishi had kept this a secret for his entire life. Even when asked about it, Rishi would only tell part of the truth. He was determined not to reveal who Jai’s biological father is.
This led to Jai banning him from the wedding. As a devoted dad and granddad this is hard for Rishi to take and just before the wedding he gets drunk, and heads off to confront Jai, meeting Jai’s mum Georgia (Lin Blakley) on the way.
‘Getting drunk doesn’t help, does it?’ Bhasker Patel told us. ‘Things do come out and it came out very badly, I think, for Rishi. And of course for Laurel.’
What happens is that in his anger Rishi throws out some extremely hurtful comments to Laurel about the time when she terminated a pregnancy when the baby she was expecting had Down’s syndrome. In a storyline that divided viewers, Laurel and Jai struggled with the decision before deciding they wouldn’t be able to cope with a child who had special needs.
Rishi throws this tragic incident back at Laurel with some vile comments, leaving both her and Georgia shocked.
‘It’s unforgivable for poor Laurel about ending the pregnancy,’ Bhasker reflected. ‘Very very sad about that situation. That hurtful comment that Rishi made about Laurel’s pregnancy, that wasn’t very good.’
With all of this coming just before the wedding, can Laurel and Jai put recent events to one side and have the wedding of their dreams?
Or are there further shocks to come?