An interview with Himesh Patel (Tamwar Masood)
Walford Web chats to Himesh Patel about playing Tamwar Masood and how romance is just around the corner…
Arriving on Albert Square in 2007, Tamwar Masood established himself as Walford’s very own ‘super geek’. With his heart set on the elite halls of Oxbridge, Tamwar spent most of his time in front of a laptop or buried in his text books while family chaos reigned around him.
However, much to the disappointment of his mother Zainab (Nina Wadia), Tamwar failed to get into Oxbridge and decided to become a stand up comedian instead! His parents weren’t best pleased to find out he had launched his own comedy website: Rude Masood on which he performed some hilarious impressions of Walford residents. His parents later forgave him after he helped set up the family catering business: ‘Masala Masood’ to lift them out of their financial problems.
Recently we have seen a more mature and emotional side to Tamwar in supporting his brother Syed (Marc Elliott); who entered into a gay relationship with Christian Clarke (John Partridge).
Since his first kiss and brief romance with Afia (Meryl Fernandes) at Syed and Amira’s wedding, Tamwar’s love life has been on standby. In fact his ‘Rude Masood’ website profile states he is: ‘terminally single’. However, that looks set to change very soon with romance reportedly just around the corner – but who will he fall in love with?
Himesh took time out from his busy filming schedule to chat with Walford Web about first auditions, romance, comedy and his appearances in E20. He also reveals his future ambition to write and direct movies with one of his co-stars.
There’s an interesting fact from just before you got the part of Tamwar involving Nitin Ganatra who plays Masood Ahmed…
“My sister met Nitin about 6 months before I got the role and she asked him for his autograph, because her brother wanted to be an actor. He wrote ‘Perhaps we’ll work together one day!’ and lo and behold, here we are.”
EastEnders was your first major acting role. How did you feel before you went to the audition?
“I rushed from my final GCSE exam to the audition. Before I got into the audition room itself, I was given a character breakdown and a script to learn. I was shocked that Tamwar had A: Parents who ran a Post Office and B: An elder sister; I already had two things in common with him. So I was nervous, but those similarities made life a little easier I think.”
I went down and got asked to come back next week. I then went back for a third time and finally got the role.”
Had you been a big EastEnders fan before you joined the show?
“I honestly never used to watch it regularly. We used to tune in as a family at Christmas, but mainly it’s my family who enjoy it the most.”
What‘s the relationship with your on-screen family like off the set?
“I’ve been blessed with a second family. Off the set we’re very close and I think that reflects in the work we do on set. We’re very comfortable in discussing scenes and choices with each other. From the start of my time on the show, Nina (Wadia) and Nitin (Ganatra) have always offered me the greatest advice. I owe an awful lot to them for their part in helping me become the actor I am now.”
Some viewers have described Tamwar as a sort of ‘lovable nerd’. How would you sum up his personality?
“I’d say he’s very insecure and quiet, which some people see as lovable. However, I think he finds that all a bit patronizing. He just wants to be himself and get on with his own thing.”
Do some people often assume you are similar to Tamwar in real life?
“Some people do, but most people understand that he’s a character I play. I am quite different to him. That’s what makes him such a joy to play.”
Tamwar is sometimes seen as a comedic element in the show. But in the aftermath of the Syed and Christian storyline we saw a more sensitive & mature side to Tamwar. Are we going to see Tamwar taking on a more dramatic role in the future?
“Tamwar came to The Square quite sure of himself, because he was brainy and his only care was his A-Grades. Since then, he’s lost a lot of confidence and everything he’s known has come crashing down around him; He failed his A-levels because his brother came crashing into his life again, his parents’ marriage has been tested to its limits and of course Syed’s revelation was a shock to the family.
I don’t think there’s a lot of room for Tamwar to be deliberately funny anymore. His humour is part of his personality, so it’ll always be there if you look for it, however yes, I think Tamwar’s going to grow up very quickly over the next few months.”
How has Tamwar been affected by his brothers gay relationship?
“He’s very confused by some of Christian’s life choices, and that made him question the whole relationship at first. However he’s slowly coming round to Christian and he just wants Syed to be happy.”
What was it like working with Marc Elliott who plays Syed during those emotional storylines?
“Whilst Syed was with Amira (Preeya Kalidas), Tamwar didn’t have much to do with him. So it’s been great to work with Marc in the aftermath. He’s a great actor and his sense of humour is fantastic.”
Do you see Tamwar as the man in the middle - always trying to keep the family together?
“I don’t think he wants to play referee. I’m pretty sure he’s given up on trying to convince Zainab that being gay isn’t a sin. He’ll still see his brother, even if his parents don’t like it.”
Tell us about your appearances in the EastEnders spin-off: E20. Have you enjoyed being involved?
“E20 is great and I think a lot of it is owed to director Michael Keillor. His direction has made it very realistic, as has the great acting from the new faces. It’s been a pleasure to work with them.”
What has been your top Tamwar comedy moment so far in EastEnders?
“In terms of comedy it has to be between the stand-up or the first kiss. I’m proud of those moments and I’m really glad of people’s reactions to them.”
Will we ever see stand-up comedy and impressions again from Tamwar?
“I doubt we’ll see more impressions and the stand-up might be at the back of his mind right now. His life’s going to take a slightly serious turn soon and I think he’s going to have to grow up fast.”
Tamwar is quite an entrepreneurial person. He used his intellect to help his parents set up Masala Masood. Do you think he could be a future business rival to Ian Beale?
“I’m not sure Tamwar particularly admires Ian Beale’s ruthless approach to business. Tamwar’s too holed up in his own world to contemplate becoming a Businessman. Zainab will always be looking over his shoulder, so he’d just do what she tells him.”
Away from EastEnders we hear you enjoy creative writing in your spare time – particularly scripts. Can we look forward to a Himesh Patel penned TV show or movie in the future?
“I haven’t written a complete script as of yet, because I don’t want to rush it. I have lots of ideas and dreams. I’m sure one day I’ll write and act in my own film. Also, Charlie G Hawkins (who plays Darren Miller) and I love Film and we constantly talk about how we’ll write and direct together, like the Coen Brothers…”
We understand love is on the horizon for Tamwar. What do you think he is looking for in a girlfriend?
“I’m not sure he knows, due to lack of experience in that part of life. It’s got to the stage where he just wants someone, whether that someone is perfect or not. He won’t ask many questions and that is what’s going to cause problems.”
Will viewers be surprised at who Tamwar falls in love with?
“It depends how long you’ve been watching the show…”
Will it be a lasting relationship? – Or are there some obstacles to overcome along the way?
“There’s one very, very big obstacle to overcome. It’s something that Tamwar couldn’t possibly prepare himself for…”
Thanks for chatting to Walford Web Himesh!