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Ganatra at the 2011 British Soap Awards.
21 February 1968 |
|Spouse(s)||Meera Ganatra (2004–present)|
Early and personal life
Both sides of Ganatra's family have origins in Gujarat which were explored on-screen in the 2013 series of Who Do You Think You Are?. His great grandfather arrived in Kenya in the late 1890s as one of 32,000 contracted labourers to build the Uganda Railway. One of under 10,000 to stay in the country after the railways completion, his grandfather and his father later joined the family's general trading business.
After Kenya gained independence from the United Kingdom and forced the native Indian population to choose between Kenya and their British passports in 1971, Ganatra, aged 3, moved with his family to Coventry, where the family still own a corner shop.
Ganatra was educated at Coundon Court School and Community College on Northbrook Road and then studied Drama, Film and TV at the University of Bristol. He went on to train under the tutelage of the late Master theatre practitioner Jerzy Grotowski.
On 17 July 2004, Ganatra married his wife, Meera. They have two children and live in North London.
Ganatra is known internationally as Prince Pondicherry in the Tim Burton film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also appears in the Gurinder Chada film Bride and Prejudice as Kholi Saab and The Mistress of Spices as Haroun, and Dev Raja in Mumbai Calling. He also appeared in the first ever iPod commercial. Ganatra also appeared in an episode of The Catherine Tate Show, as Joanie Taylor's daughter's partner.
Other appearances include the TV show Jane Hall, the Patents Clerk in Philip Pullman's The Shadow in the North, the CBBC television show Gina's Laughing Gear, a character in Meet the Magoons playing himself, a semi lead role as Rez, brother of main character Shifty, in the 2008 British cult film Shifty about a Muslim crack-cocaine dealer, and Martin Soper in Twenty Twelve. He also appeared in Being April with Pauline Quirke playing Sinil.
On 25 March 2015, Ganatra featured in a comedy interview alongside comedian Paul Chowdhry in which he jokingly lost his temper and "attacked" Chowdhry.
In October 2014, Ganatra called for more racial diversity within British soaps, revealing that there is a sense of "pressure" for minority cultures to represent. He commented: "All the responsibility falls on this one family to represent a whole culture, and the culture in itself is diverse – it’s Pakistani, Muslim, Indian, Hindu, Punjabi, Sikhs, Sri Lankans… Having diversity is when you don’t notice how many different cultures there are on TV because it’s not under that microscope. When there’s only one it’s going to be too much pressure."
- "BBC One - Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 10, Nitin Ganatra". Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- Nitin Ganatra Family Tree