Shobna Gulati

Shobna Gulati Biography

Shobna Gulati (born 7 August 1966) is a British actress, writer, and dancer of Indian descent, best known for playing Anita in Victoria Wood's Dinnerladies, and Sunita Alahan in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street from 2001 to 2006, a role to which she returned at the end of 2009 and departed again in 2013. From 13 March 2013, Gulati has appeared as a panellist on the lunchtime chatshow Loose Women.

Gulati is also known for being one of very few actors to have appeared in both Coronation Street and its rival series EastEnders for the BBC (in 2000).

Early life

Gulati was born in Oldham, Lancashire to parents of Hindu Indian descent. She has a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern politics from the University of Manchester.


One Gulati's earliest appearances was as a dancer in the video for Boy George's 1991 single "Bow Down Mister." In the late 1990s, she received excellent reviews for her work in Victoria Wood's BBC sitcom dinnerladies; in 2001, she appeared in the short film Shadowscan, directed by Tinge Krishnan, which won a BAFTA Award; and in 2004 Gulati was nominated for a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for her work in the play Dancing within walls, which was staged at the Contact Theatre in Manchester.

Gulati has also appeared on the TV quiz shows Call My Bluff, Have I Got News for You, The Weakest Link, Russian Roulette and as Diana Ross in Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes. In early 2006, Gulati took part in the Reality TV series Soapstar Superstar.

After she left Coronation Street initially in 2006, Gulati played Nisha Clayton, a recurring role in the final series of Where the Heart Is and made appearances in New Street Law and the one-off comedy drama Magnolia which was written by Dave Spikey for the BBC's Comedy Playhouse series.

In October 2006, Gulati appeared at the Royal Albert Hall as part of a short skit featured in The Secret Policeman's Ball. In the skit, Gulati and co-star Nitin Ganatra play a holidaying couple who are under the mistaken belief Guantanamo Bay is a holiday resort. The sketch also starred American actors Chevy Chase and Seth Green.

Gulati has recently been seen as one of many storytellers in the CBBC revival of Jackanory and in the UK tour of the hit play Girls Night by Louise Roche. She also appeared on the Channel 4 special Empire's Children, tracing her family's history during the partition of India. In summer 2007, she appeared in Pretend You Have Big Buildings at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

In 2008 Gulati made her debut as a filmmaker, producing the short film Akshay for the motiroti's 60x60 Secs. This was shortlisted for the Satyajit Ray, short film awards. During this same period, the actress returned to her former Coronation Street role as Sunita Alahan, which she continued to play through her departure three years later.

On 11 June 2009 she appeared in the BBC1 programme Celebrity MasterChef. She did the first stage tour of dinnerladies in early 2009 and she has recently appeared as a guest story teller for (cbbc, Bedtime Stories). In November 2010, She was a guest panellist on ITVs flagship show Loose Women, to celebrate fifty years of Coronation Street and in April 2012, to celebrate soap week and in June 2011 she was a guest on Countdown. Upon announcing her impending departure from Coronation Street, planned for early 2013, the actress expressed her desire to write and perform more comedy than her soap-opera career permitted her time to do.

As of 13 March 2013, Gulati has appeared as a regular panelist on the ITV's flagship show Loose Women.

Personal life

Gulati is the daughter of Dr K A Gulati who arrived in Oldham from Mumbai India in 1960. She has a younger brother, Rajesh, and older sisters Sushma and Hema.

She married the architect Anshu Srivastava in a Hindu ceremony on 10 November 1990 but the couple divorced in May 1994. She lived separately from her husband and became pregnant with Akshay. From 1999 to 2003 she went out with ex-Emmerdale actor Gary Turner.

Gulati has a good working knowledge of six languages and is a vocal supporter of Asian women's rights and various anti-racism campaigns. She works on female body image issues. She is a supporter and a season ticket holder of Manchester United.

Shobna was called in to join a murder hunt in December 2004 following the murder of Shafilea Ahmed. The actress worked with detectives hunting the killer they believe claimed the life of the Asian teenager who turned down her suitor for an arranged marriage. At a press conference appealing for more information about the teenager's death, Gulati read out some of the poems found in her bedroom by police during their investigations which "were a testimony to her sadness at being caught in a culture clash with other members of her family".

After the reading, which moved the actress to tears, Gulati said she believed they showed that Shafilea was trapped between two cultures. "It can be very difficult if you are born here but your parents were not and there can be a lot of cultural issues", she said. "It is a situation facing many young Asian women who are unable to express themselves properly within their families. "I feel these words are the sort of style she would use when talking with her friends. "If she is out there she should let people know she is safe because there are organisations and individuals who can help her."

Gulati went on to say that she sympathised with the teenager's difficulty in balancing her culture with her upbringing; "She has obviously been unable to express herself in terms of her family and she probably talks like this to her friends, or has written these songs in private".

On 7 September 2011, Cheshire Police announced that Shafilea's parents, Iftikhar Ahmed, 51, and Farzana Ahmed, 48, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, had been charged with her murder. Their trial ended in August 2012 with both parents being found guilty of murder, and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison. The prosecution claim she was killed by her parents because she brought shame on the family by her desire to lead a westernised lifestyle.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shobna_Gulati" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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