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 the main antagonist 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 is played by Kuldeep Bhakoo, with his only other roles being Roshan Patel from Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun and Joe from Death Is Part of the Process.
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? (Ted: What did you say?) 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 asking Susan if she's crying over her lost pet.
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 finds the whistle
Patel comes out with the whistle
Patel lying to Ted about Duma
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
Patel is based on the Indian trader from The Cheetahs, a novel by actor Alan Caillou.
Patel, Buldeo and Chacha have the distinction of being the only Indian villains in any fictional work.
He bears a slight resemblance to Harwell Thompson from the 1983 series Benji, Zax & the Alien Prince. Both are thought to be friendly at first, but later reveal their true colors and capture the heroes (Duma and Prince Yubi).
Patel is very similar to Al McWhiggin from Pixar's 1999 film Toy Story 2, as they are both covetous store owners who capture the heroes (Duma and Woody) from their owners (Ted & Susan Johnson and Andy Davis). Both want to collect money for themselves by doing something to the heroes (Mr. Patel wants to collect money by making Duma race against greyhounds; Al wants to collect money by selling Woody to Japan). However, their plans were both foiled.