Rana first turned up on Coronation Street in February 2016 to reconnect with her old friend Alya Nazir. Rana soon began dating Alya's brother, Zeedan, although he terminated the relationship due to Rana's flirtatious behaviour with other men. The pair later reconciled and in November Rana accepted Zeedan's marriage proposal - but was left heartbroken when he called off the engagement (after he discovered his grandfather Sharif Nazir's seven-year affair with Sonia Rahman and no longer believed in marriage). Zeedan was able to be convinced that not all marriages would end like Sharif and Yasmeen's had, and he organised an impromptu Nikah ceremony hoping that Rana would once again agree to marry him - which she did.
Throughout 2017, Rana began to develop a friendship with Kate Connor after she joined her on a night out in town - and it was Rana who Kate turned to when she learnt that her father Johnny Connor had MS. Before long Rana realised that she had stronger feelings for Kate as she began to feel jealous about Kate's new relationship with Imogen Pascoe. Kate initially assumed that Rana was against her new relationship due to being homophobic, but was shocked to learn the truth and the pair engaged in an affair which weighed heavily on Rana's conscience. In November 2017, Zeedan planned for himself and Rana to visit a registry office in order to make their marriage official. Kate hoped that Rana would come clean about their affair before the wedding, but Rana found herself unable to - knowing that her strict Muslim parents wouldn't accept that she was gay.
Despite having remarried Zeedan, Rana continued her affair with Kate - but confessed to everything in February 2018. Zeedan later informed her parents - who plotted to pay Zeedan to stay with Rana so that they could keep face in the Muslim community. At first Rana agreed to stay with Zeedan - but eventually realised that she needed to be with Kate. After going official with their relationship the pair began overcoming problem after problem including; Rana's parent's attempt to kidnap her, Kate's brother Aidan's suicide, Rana's father Hassan's death and finally Kate's secret plan to have sex with Adam Barlow in order to father the pair a child.
Even after all that the pair had faced they remained together and planned to marry in March 2019. However, Rana was killed on the day of her wedding when the Underworld roof collapsed after being purposely vandalised by Gary Windass. Kate was able to make it to Rana's side and the pair exchanged their wedding vows before Rana passed away in her arms. Carla Connor recieved the blame for the roof collapse as she had ignored advice that she would need to have the factory closed in order for the roof to be repaired and after suffering a psychotic breakdown (during which she witnessed a vision of Rana in May 2019) she was sectioned.
1991-2016: Early life and strict Muslim upbringing
2016-2017: Reconnecting with the Nazirs
In February 2016 Rana sent Alya a birthday card and the next day they decided to meet up and have dinner at Nick's Bistro. Rana soon took a shine to Alya's brother Zeedan and the pair began a relationship. However their time together was short due to Rana's flirtatious nature with other men which caused Zeedan to split up with her. In July the couple reconciled.
When Jim McDonald had been diagnosed with the genetic disorder myotonic dystrophy in October, alarm bells rang for his son Steve. As well as himself and daughter Amy Barlow at risk from the disorder, he'd also impregnated both Michelle Connor and Leanne Battersby, and discovered their babies could also be at risk. Steve and Michelle spoke to Rana to see if she knew anything about the disease, and she gave the couple some information.
Zeedan proposed to Rana in November that year, and Rana supported Zeedan when it was revealed that Sharif Nazir, Zeedan's grandfather, had been having an affair with a woman named Sonia Rahman. Zeedan then began to question his beliefs in marriage, and after an awkward meal with Rana's parents, he broke off their engagement. Rana was crushed and felt adamant that this was the end of her relationship with Zeedan, however family friend, Leanne helped reconcile the pair. Zeedan and Rana decided to marry immediately after their reconciliation to seal their love for one another, with Rana's parents (Hassan and Saira Habeeb), Yasmeen, Leanne and Nick Tilsley witnessing the Nikah ceremony.
Soon after their marriage, Zeedan was keen to have children but Rana was less certain. Not wanting to upset her husband, Rana secretly began taking contraceptive pills. A few weeks later, she did tell Zeedan that she wasn't ready to start a family yet, which he accepted.
2017-2018: Sexuality struggles and affair
In 2017, Rana met Kate Connor, when she went over to 6 Coronation Street to help plan Alya's birthday celebration. At Kate's suggestion, they eventually went to a lesbian bar. They became fast friends. Rana assisted Kate and her father, as Johnny Connor was diagnosed as suffering with MS.
Later that year, Rana immediately regretted Kate hooking up with Imogen Pascoe as a result of playing wing woman. They fell out as Kate accused Rana of being homophobic. After Rana broke up with Kate, Imogen spitefully tipped her off that it was desire for Kate, not homophobia, but Todd Grimshaw overheard. Rana denied it, but he set her up to be sorted out by telling Rosie and Sophie Webster that Rana needed cheering up. Rana got drunk and proceeded to show Kate how she was feeling by kissing her. Rana pursued Kate, including a final bid on her legal wedding day to get Kate to confess her feelings, so they could work things out. Rana shared an emotional moment with Kate after she crashed her wedding reception.
Zeedan, in another attempt to get Kate and Rana to kiss and make up, surprised Rana by informing her that she would have to accompany Kate to a catering event. They set off in the Speed Daal van that Rana had purchased with her entrepreneurial spirit and encouragement of her husband's culinary aspirations. When the van broke down, Kate finally snapped, which led to Rana reciprocating Kate's confession of love with a passionate kiss that started her affair with Kate. Luke Britton discovered that Rana really did have these feelings and put pressure on Rana, in particular, to come clean to Zeedan. Rana remained steadfast in her love for Kate, but struggled to come to terms with her sexual orientation, losing the family she had built with the Nazirs, the likely rejection of her own family, breaking Zeedan's heart, and facing homophobia in society. Michelle Connor became witness to Rana and Kate’s romantic assignation, during her robbery of Viaduct Bistro. Rana was concerned for the welfare of the unknown thief after Kate smashed a bottle over the robber's head and whisked her away to safety. This led to Michelle lending Kate her the keys to her flat at 9 Victoria Court. They finally consummated their affair.
In 2018, Rana was crushed, when Kate finally angrily lost faith that Rana would tell Zeedan so they could be together. Her best friend Alya, husband Zeedan and lover Kate were devastated by the news of Luke's brutal murder, just a day after the fallout of Rana not telling Zeedan. Kate and Rana broke up, so Rana could support Alya and Zeedan. Unable to be with Kate herself, wanting Kate loved and supported, and unsure of Kate’s feelings, Rana encouraged Sophie Webster to date Kate.
2018-2019: Coming out and battling homophobia
Even though Rana thought Kate is lost to her, she couldn’t contain her feelings any longer after Luke’s funeral and confessed to Zeedan that she was in love with someone else. Rana got outed by Kate to Zeedan and told her brother that night, after Zeedan didn’t let her back in the house. Zeedan outed her with threats to her parents that then bribe him with a contract. She was disgusted and horrified, when he manipulated her guilt to him and care for Alya, into the agreement to remain married to him for a year, so he had the capital to start a cafe. Her brother Imran also encouraged the deal after Rana declared Kate was a snake, to his inquiry about the status of her continued interest. Zeedan outed Rana to Leanne, who outed Rana to Yasmeen. Yasmeen outed Rana to Cathy Matthews. The toll this took on Rana wasn’t directly explored.
Rana revealed that her marriage to Zeedan was now fake, the ugly contract and that she loved Kate so much, when Kate came around to reveal she discovered Zeedan tried it on with Leanne Battersby. This reunion of the lovers' heart-to-heart got interrupted by Zeedan, resulting in Rana making it clear she would be with Kate, contract or no contract. They agreed to uphold the pretence of the contract, but Kate and Rana eventually got discovered by Alya, Hassan and Saira on the living room couch. Alya proceeded to out Rana to everyone in the Rovers. Rana tried to make amends for dissolving the disgusting contract that sold her and with its end, so ended Zeedan’s hush money. Saira tricked Rana into volunteering to accompany her mother to Pakistan to assist her disowned ailing aunt. Rana received Kate’s mother’s protection rune and best wishes for reconciliation with her mother. Thankfully, Yasmeen, Kate, Imran and Zeedan discovered the scheme and sped to keep Rana from boarding a plane to Pakistan, a trip her parents meant for her to never return from. Rana was distraught and angry and her parents disowned her and her brother disowned them. She returned to the Nazirs' shook. Rana continued to try to please everyone, but herself and Alya and thereby didn’t truly satisfy anyone. She saved the opening of Speed Daal, by asking Imran to find investors and Imran himself invested. It got worse when Hassan accused Rana of having reported her to the police and telling her that he wished she’d never been born. Rana felt betrayed by Kate and went to the Weatherfield Police Station to get her mother released. She forgave her swiftly, after she realised the truth, through consequences of what Kate said about her giving Zeedan false hope transpired.
The day after the day Aidan Connor's suicide was discovered, Rana packed her bag and went to be with Kate. This continued to grow the rift with Alya.
Sophie Webster was angry with Rana for not helping her prove the medical professionals were to blame for her brother not being diagnosed sooner with sepsis. This culminated in Sophie slapping Rana for suggesting that Sophie was upset about her and Kate, instead of just being a face of the NHS. They later made up.
In August 2018, Rana's father was having a birthday party and didn't invite her. She encouraged Imran to go even though he was reluctant. Her father had a stroke at his party and that led to his death. Before he died, her mother wouldn't let her in to see him. Kate suggested lying to her mum and to tell her that she had broken up with her. Rana adamantly refused and with the help of Billy Mayhew tried to sneak in to see her dad. When that didn't work she ended up lying to her mum, saying things were over between her and Kate. She didn't tell her mum the truth for a while and that led to her moving out. Kate was becoming frustrated at having to lie and hide again. Rana told her mum the truth about her and Kate after Saira had said about getting Imran to split his inheritance with her. Her mum eventually came around and still wanted her to go on a six-week cruise with her. She went back to her flat she shared with Kate and Kate told her that if she went on the cruise she wouldn't wait for her. Both of them knew that it was an empty threat.
2019: Overcoming her issues and untimely death
Rana forgot her rings and rushed back to collect them at the Underworld Factory. The roof abruptly collapsed and ultimately killed Rana, though not before she managed to say her vows with Kate whilst dying in her arms.
Rana entered the street as a confident man eater and party girl. For all her bravado of doing as she wants without her parents' unobtainable approval, she betrays this facade with her desire to please them. She eagerly receives their faint praise for her marriage to Zeedan, his business prospects with Speed Daal, hoped the contract will allow her to reconcile with her parents and falling for their scheme to get to remove her from England to Pakistan. She boldly pursues her love or dreams. She has a very caring, nurturing and supportive side. She has a Muslim upbringing and observed Ramadan. She might participate additionally in Muslim culturally, but not religiously outside of her Nikah and the moment visiting an Imam on her wedding day, when she was lost and lonely. She takes on guilt to self destructive levels and seems to behave as if nothing is enough to absolve it.
The decision to kill Rana Habeeb off on her and Kate Connor's wedding day, after Bhavna Limbachia quit the role, caused extreme controversy. Some viewers accused the show writers of encouraging the "Bury Your Gays" television trope - which was coined by LGBT critics over the apparent use of queer characters dying early or being killed off instead of their straight counterparts in both film and television globally. This could be as the result of attacks because they were gay, or that they’re killed off as their storyline comes to its natural conclusion meaning they’re no longer necessary. Citing Maddie Heath (Amy James-Kelly) as another example of this following her tragic demise in June 2015. The watchdog Ofcom received 236 complaints from viewers but favoured the side of the soap, and didn’t think her death was a negative portrayal of LGBT relationships to the public.
A spokesperson for Ofcom said: ‘We considered complaints that this storyline negatively portrayed gay relationships. In our view, the untimely death of the character was typical of this soap’s dramatic plotlines and would not have exceeded most viewers’ expectations.’ Bhavnia stated that being killed off was at her suggestion. During an interview with This Morning following the scenes being aired, she said that offence was never her, nor the show’s, intent. ‘My decision to leave and be killed off was never meant to offend the LGBT+ community,’ she said. ‘It was made in the same way I’ve tried to portray the character throughout the years, and that’s with truth and integrity, and my decision to leave and have her killed off was made with the decision of two people being in love and their love being pure, regardless of their age, their gender, their sexuality, their religion.’ ‘So the intention was never to offend the LGBT community. It was purely for two people being in love. I guess it was modern-day Romeo and Juliet, or a Juliet and Juliet love story,’ she added.
First and last lines
"So sorry I'm late. Gosh, you must hate me. 'Scuse me, sorry. Town was a nightmare and then the bus broke down. I was like that to the driver: 'Hey pal, I'm meeting my old mate from uni'". (First line, to Alya Nazir)
"All my love. Always". (Final line, to Kate Connor)
(To be completed)
List of addresses
|19a Victoria Street||11th May 2018 to 20th March 2019|
|Practice nurse||Rosamund Street Medical Centre||26th February 2016 to 20th March 2019|