Why is fate dangling such hopes and then snatching them away? That cat could make me rich. (Nigel: Rich, Patel? How so?) I have an uncle in India. He's racing cheetah against greyhounds. It is bringing him a fortune. (Nigel: A cheetah, racing against greyhounds?) Yes, and this cheetah, she's already tamed! Most difficult part of training is accomplished. I could begin negotiations with racetrack today, if only I possess cat.
~ Mr. Patel revealing his plan to Nigel
Mr. Patel (or just simply Patel) is one of the main antagonists of Disney's 1989 live action film Cheetah. He is a covetous store owner who figures he can make a fortune by racing Duma against local greyhounds and betting on her to lose. He teams up with an opportunistic Englishman named Nigel and a Kenyan poacher named Abdullah.
He was portrayed by Kuldeep Bhakoo.
Patel offers to buy Duma, but Susan refuses. When they leave the store, Patel explains to Nigel that he has an uncle in India that races cheetahs against greyhounds, and he could become rich if he could do the same with Duma.
Meanwhile, Patel and Nigel hire Abdullah to kidnap Duma. Patel explains that cheetahs are sprinters, not distant runners. He plans to make the race just long enough that the cheetah will run out of steam. Unlike all the other gamblers, he will bet on the dogs and make a fortune. The night before Ted and Susan are to leave Africa, Patel breaks into the house, steals Ted’s whistle, and uses it to lure Duma away.
After a tearful goodbye with Morogo, the family stops at Patel’s store to get gasoline. Patel sees the tears in Susan’s eyes and asks if she is crying over losing her pet. Ted realizes Patel could not know about Duma’s disappearance and then notices that Abdullah is wearing shoes made from old tires, just like the tracks they found around Duma’s mother’s corpse. Ted tries to convince his parents that Patel kidnapped Duma, but they insist the animal is out “exploring.” After sending their grandmother a telegram saying they will be delayed, the siblings take a bus back to Patel’s store and discover he is gone, but learn his whereabouts from his cousin.
Across the Great Rift, the children find Abdullah’s camp protected by a high fence and trip wires. They wait for nightfall before sneaking in. Along with a stack of fliers advertising Duma’s race against the greyhounds, they find cheetah skins drying on the walls. Hearing Duma’s whimpers, they enter a barn and find her locked in a cage. Susan and Ted go into a cabin looking for something to break the lock and are jumped by Abdullah. Nigel and Patel arrive and the three men argue over what to do with them. Abdullah wants to kill them, but Nigel suggests they lock them in the cage until after the race. When the men drive away with Duma, Morogo comes out of hiding. Susan, who was watching the gamblers, gives him the combination to unlock the cage.
The children reach the racetrack in time to hear the cheetah-greyhound race being announced. Patel crows to Nigel that he has bet a fortune that Duma will lose. Duma takes an early lead in the race, but as the race progresses the greyhounds catch up, then pass the cat. Ted grabs a policeman’s whistle and blows. Hearing the whistle, Duma gets a second wind and wins by five lengths, forcing Patel and Nigel to compensate all bets.
Oh, look! Your cheetah, she's escaped! She's gone!
~ Patel seeing Duma leave his store.
Excuse my intrusion, please. The distinguished professor and family have been most generous. Perhaps I may reciprocate by relieving them of this animal. (Susan: Thank you. No.) If I offer $50 sterling as additional inducement.
~ Patel offering to buy Duma.
But not so many people know that cheetah has no endurance. She tires quickly. So we are planning to make the race too long for cheetah and then bet against her.
~ Patel explaining his plan to Abdullah.
The young missus finding it a sad day? Leaving this splendid country? Losing her pet?
~ Patel asking if Susan lost her pet, causing Ted to know that Patel kidnapped Duma.
I recall you intended to release her in Cheetah Valley. Therefore, I'm assuming... (Ted: But you said "lose.") Perhaps I did not choose the most precise word, but does it not to do justice to how the miss feels?
~ Patel trying to dissuade Ted from learning the truth about Duma's disappearance to no avail.
Everybody thinks cheetah will win. When I remind them, there is no official betting, they all offered to wager privately. They eat out of my hands. We're rich, Nigel. We are rich.
~ Patel crowing to Nigel that he has bet a fortune that Duma will lose.
Patel telling Nigel about his plan to race Duma against greyhounds.
Patel and Nigel telling Abdullah about their plan to make Duma race against greyhounds.
Patel breaking in to steal the whistle.
Patel finding the whistle.
Patel coming out with the whistle.
Patel trying to dissuade Ted from learning the truth about Duma's disappearance.
Patel at Duma's cage.
Patel peddling to make Duma try to get her prey.
Patel and Nigel after Abdullah captures Ted and Susan.
Patel and his friends on their way to Nairobi.
Patel betting on some people at the race.
Patel and Nigel bragging about them being rich if Duma loses the race.
Patel and Nigel's defeat: Forced to compensate all bets after Duma wins the race.
Though Abdullah drove the plot of the film and is more dangerous than anyone else, Mr. Patel is still the main antagonist because he had bigger plans than anyone else. Plus, he was thought to be a friend to Duma and the Johnson family, but he was actually against them.
Patel is based on the Indian trader from The Cheetahs, a novel by Alan Caillou.
Patel's first name wasn never mentioned, but only shortened on the name of his store.