|Portrayed by||Rik Makarem|
|First appearance||11 September 2009|
|Last appearance||20 August 2013|
|Introduced by||Gavin Blyth|
Factory Stakeholder (2009-13)
B&B Landlord (2013–)
Nikhil Sharma is a fictional character, from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played by Rik Makarem. He made his first screen appearance on 11 September 2009. Makarem's departure from the soap was announced on 16 May 2013, while Nikhil made his exit on 20 August 2013.
Creation and casting
On 21 July 2009, Kris Green of Digital Spy reported Emmerdale's' new series producer, Gavin Blyth, would be introducing a new family called the Sharmas as part of an ongoing overhaul of the show. The family, which consisted of three siblings, arrived in the village to manage a new confectionery factory. Of the siblings, Blyth said "The Sharmas are a young, contemporary family independent of their parents and will bring the factory into the heart of the village community. They will add real vitality to life in Emmerdale." Chris Bisson was cast as the eldest sibling, Jai, and Effie Woods was cast as the youngest sibling, Priya (later played by Fiona Wade).
Former Torchwood actor Makarem was cast in the role of the middle Sharma sibling, Nikhil. Makarem told Heather Greenway of the Sunday Mail that he could not speak when he learned he had gotten a role in Emmerdale. He explained the job was a dream come true as he and his family had grown up watching the soap. Makarem hoped the Sharma family would become permanent fixtures on Emmerdale, saying "I'm contracted until the new year but I am hoping the Sharmas are here to stay." Bisson, Makarem and Woods filmed their first scenes on the same day as their casting announcement. Makarem made his on screen debut as Nikhil on 11 September 2009.
"Nikhil comes across as being a little shy in social situations but he's very focused and determined as far as business is concerned. He tries to show off a steely exterior but it belies a soft centre. He's not so worldly-wise and can be quite gullible but when pushed he can easily demonstrate an iron backbone."—itv.com on Nikhil
Upon announcement of his casting, Makarem described his character as being "focused, determined and ambitious." The actor said Nikhil is an intense character, who ruffles a lot of feathers, but under the surface he is very likeable and has a lot of vulnerability. Makarem said Nikhil loves his siblings and tries his best to protect to Priya because she gets up to a lot of mischief. Of Nikhil's relationship with his brother, Makarem said "Nikhil and Jai are a bit of a comedy duo. Jai knows how to wind up Nikhil. They are very different characters - Nikhil is more serious, more complex and more meticulous, whereas Jai is the maverick showman." A writer for Inside Soap described Nikhil as "humble, gentlemanly, sweet and caring."
On 16 May 2013, Makarem announced his departure from Emmerdale. The announcement came shortly after Makarem's co-star and on-screen wife Sian Reese-Williams (Genesis Walker) revealed that she was also leaving the show. Of his reasons for departing, Makarem stated "When making my decision to leave, on both artistic and personal levels, I listened very closely to my heart. I'm naturally ambitious – I believe in taking risks, as that's how we truly learn about ourselves, how we grow, and with this integrity in mind, I'm completely inspired for the journey ahead." On-screen, Nikhil realises that he cannot stay in the village following his wife's death and he takes a job in Toronto. He departed on 20 August 2013.
Nikhil and his brother Jai arrived in the village on 11 September 2009, having purchased a new sweet factory. The brothers soon realise they have locked themselves out of their new home and ask the Dingles for help in breaking in. After successfully gaining entry, Lisa Dingle convinces Jai to give her husband Zak a job in the factory as the driver. Jai agrees. Nikhil reminded his brother that he was the real boss and did not want Jai undermiming him. This has provided a source of tension between the brothers as they opened the factory. As their business venture continued, Nikhil decided to leave the business to his brother, who had been taking control despite Nikhil being the actual owner. He eventually decided to stay however, and promoted his sister Priya to supervisor.
Nikhil starts dating Maisie Wylde and they become engaged. But when Maisie admits that she does not love Nikhil, they break up and she leaves Emmerdale. After briefly dating both Katie Sugden and Chas Dingle, Nikhil is shocked when Genesis Walker admits that she loves him. Nikhil rejects Gennie, but when she begins dating Nicky Pritchard, Nikhil becomes jealous and realises he has feelings for her. Nikhil admits his love to Gennie and they share a kiss. Gennie then ends her relationship with Nicky to begin dating Nikhil. Nikhil becomes confused when Gennie starts acting strangely and he decides they should take a break. However, Charity reveals that Gennie is pregnant. Nikhil then proposes to Gennie and she initially accepts until she realises he knows about her pregnancy and she turns him down. The following day, after Nikhil pledges his love to Gennie and the baby, she agrees to marry him. During Chas's wedding reception, Gennie goes into labour and gives birth to her and Nikhil's daughter, who they name Molly. Gennie and Nikhil marry, although the reception is interrupted when Gennie's adoptive mother Brenda collapses. Nikhil is disgusted when his father, Rishi, lies that he is the father of Rachel Breckle's son.
After marrying Gennie, Nikhil decides that he wants a fresh start and a steady future for Molly, so decides to buy Val and Eric Pollard's B&B and suggests that they turn the place into a posh hotel. However, his plans are wrecked when he is told that Gennie has died. After Gennie's death, Nikhil begins to behave strangely so his family try to get him to be there for Molly but this fails when he arrives at The Woolpack with her and gives her to Debbie before leaving. After many attempts, people decide in order to get Nikhil to bond with Molly, they leave her at his home and guard all the exits to stop him from running off. This finally causes Nikhil to bond with Molly again. On 20 August 2013, Nikhil and Molly left the village for Toronto, where Nikhil's new job is. On 20 September 2013, Nikhil's voice is heard when Brenda, Bob and Jai call to inform him that Gennie was in fact murdered by Cameron Murray.
An Inside Soap writer branded Nikhil "perfect" and said it was weird how he did not seem capable of "pulling anyone, anywhere." They added "he's basically most women's ideal guy - so get in there, girls!"
- Kris (21 July 2009). "Three more added to 'Emmerdale' cast". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Green, Kris (9 September 2009). "Soap Insight: Rik Makarem on Nikhil Sharma". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Greenway, Heather (6 September 2009). "Soap star has an eye for talent". Sunday Mail. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- "Nikhil Sharma". itv.com. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- "Soap's most eligible bachelors". Inside Soap (Hachette Filipacchi UK) (3): 41. 22–28 January 2011.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (16 May 2013). "'Emmerdale': Rik Makarem leaving Nikhil Sharma role". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Jones, Alison (17–23 August 2013). "Nikhil says goodbye!". Inside Soap (Hearst Magazines UK) (33): 17.