Emmerdale serial killer Meena Jutla is back for revenge, targeting Billy Fletcher and Dawn Taylor on their wedding day.
Monday’s episode (February 14) ended with a sinister cliffhanger, as Meena kidnapped Dawn in a limo as part of a ruthless new murder plan.
Dawn (Olivia Bromley) and Billy (Jay Kontzle) had exchanged their vows in a romantic ceremony at the local church, but in upcoming scenes, their lives hang in the balance as Meena holds them at gunpoint at a remote viaduct.
Paige Sandhu, who plays Meena, recently caught up with Insertions.us to tease what happens next – and whether her dangerous character’s luck is finally running out.
What was your reaction when you read the scripts for Meena’s return storyline?
“I thought they were so good. I feel like the writers are having a lot of fun with the storyline and the lines they give me now. It’s really exciting and fun. There’s a lot of drama, it’s very intense and I loved it.”
Can you tell us more about Meena’s plan?
“We’ve just seen Meena kidnap Dawn in the limo. Dawn freaks out and we find out Billy is already in the boot. Meena has drugged him to get him in there.
“Meena takes them both to the viaduct where she makes them play a game. Billy has to choose who should live, as Meena will shoot one of them.
“Dawn and Billy are both doing what Meena says because she has a gun and they’re scared. They’re asking what she wants, why she’s back, and warning that she’ll be caught.
“But Meena is enjoying building up to this game. Meena tells Billy that he has to choose who she shoots, as only one of them will leave alive. They plead with her to stop.”
We know that Meena is capable of anything, so should viewers expect the worst?
“Yes of course! We’ve seen what Meena is capable of. She would have even killed her own sister if it hadn’t been for Liam. Nothing is going to stop her now.”
Meena was in a relationship with Billy at one point, so would that stop her from killing him?
“No, she’s not capable of feeling love. Any affection she had for him has completely disappeared and wasn’t ever real anyway. When she falls in love, it’s about possession, control and having their complete attention. She’s always focused on getting them to do what she wants, and making life how she wants it to be.
“If they cheat on her or betray her in any way, it’s about getting revenge on them. The only person I think Meena has ever come close to loving is Manpreet. When Meena believed she was really going to kill her sister, she felt sadness and grief and loss, but there’s nothing like that for Billy or Dawn.”
We know that Billy says he’d take a bullet for Dawn. How does Meena react?
“Meena suspected he would. One of the very clever things about her is that she works people out. She does that on purpose to use their weaknesses against them. She knows Dawn is Billy’s weakness because he loves her so much. I think she planned that and isn’t cross.”
Does Meena want them both dead?
“She wants to cause the maximum amount of suffering possible. To her that is one person dying and the other seeing it, because that’s just awful isn’t it? Meena has a general plan but she also lets the moment take her. She likes to be spontaneous and unpredictable. You never know what’s going to cause a reaction in her.
“If she feels like it, she might think: ‘I’ve shot Billy because he’s chosen himself, but Dawn you’re really annoying so I’m going to shoot you too!’ There is unpredictability with Meena.”
Is Meena glad the truth about her crimes is out?
“There’s something really exciting and fulfilling in everyone knowing who she really is. For the whole of her life she’s worn a mask that she’s a normal, innocent, kind and good person, but she isn’t. She is incapable of feeling emotions and she doesn’t care about others’ feelings. She wants her way and likes to manipulate… and also she enjoys murdering people!
“To Meena, all of these heinous crimes are actually achievements. She thinks: ‘Look at how special, great and amazing I am. I’m actually a god to be able to have carried out these things and no one has known all this time. They’ve only figured it out because I’ve let them know and I’m so much smarter than everybody else’.”
Does Meena still want to deal with Manpreet?
“She feels a little bit of regret. The one bad thing because of this is that Manpreet isn’t in her life anymore. Yes she wanted to kill her but that didn’t happen, so Manpreet’s still alive but they’re not talking.
“Manpreet was Meena’s best friend and closest confidante. They’re not talking, which feels wrong to Meena. The people she cares about are people she wants to possess and she no longer has that with her. There’s a bit of regret.
“I don’t think there’s much anger from Meena towards Manpreet at this moment. I’m not saying there won’t be further along. If Meena could have her way, she would still do horrible things to Manpreet. That’s not for revenge like Billy and Dawn, but just because it’s who she is.”
What was the fan reaction when Meena disappeared a few weeks ago?
“I had a lot of messages from people saying they were sad she’d gone, and some were glad too! Everyone thought she wasn’t coming back, which was really cool because I knew she was. It’s really exciting to see the reaction now she’s back. It’s really written well and I hope it’s exciting for the audience.”
What was it like to film Meena’s showdown with Billy and Dawn at the remote viaduct?
“It was really cold! But Olivia Bromley had it worse just in her wedding dress – me and Jay Kontzle had more clothes on! It was beautiful and stunning. We were there for sunrise and sunset. We could see the moon in the background and it was just absolutely beautiful.
“I think the scenes are incredible and some of my most favourite to film, along with the ones where Meena was holding Manpreet hostage. Jay and Liv are fun to work with and very good, hard-working actors. I really loved it.
“Working with a gun has been interesting too. I got to fire it. It was blanks, but a bit scary and exciting as I’d never held one in my life. It added a different edge to Meena that we’d never seen before.”
We know at least one life hangs in the balance this week. Could it be Meena?
“Yes. Every single person involved, all our lives are in danger. Things don’t go to plan and stuff happens. Many lives are in danger.”
Is Meena scared of dying?
“I don’t think that she is. Meena is so confident and arrogant that she believes no one would ever be able to get the better of her. Psychopaths are incapable of feeling fear.
“It would be more exciting than anything else – there’s a line in Peter Pan I always think about where he says: ‘I think to die would be an awfully great adventure.’ I think Meena would feel the same thing, it would be an inappropriate reaction to death.”
Could Meena cope with prison?
“In my planning of why Meena has come back, I think she decided she’s most likely going to get caught this time, but is okay with that because the idea of letting Billy and Dawn get away with everything they’ve done, marry and have a happy-ever-after is more horrifying than going to prison.
“But as we go along, things don’t go to her plan and it gets messed up, so if she does see an opportunity to get away, she’ll use it. She believes she can outsmart anyone.
“If the police caught her, Meena believes she’d be able to manipulate and worm her way out of situations, which she has done in the past many times with the police.”
Do viewers love to hate Meena?
“I avoid any comments on social media because people can be quite cruel sometimes, but ones I’ve received have been nice. They enjoy Meena, they miss her when she’s not on screen. Her storyline is very exciting and dramatic, so they want to know what’s going to happen next. From my point of view, it’s been largely positive.”
Can you tease what’s to come over the rest of the week?
“Viewers should tune in because we are coming to the head of the storyline. If you think it was exciting and dramatic before, this is the pinnacle of all that. It’s the final showdown with Billy and Dawn. Meena gets her revenge on every man who’s ever messed her about and puts it all on them.
“An Emmerdale wedding is always exciting as something always happens. The writing is at its best in these scenes. The audience enjoys Meena’s one-liners, her sarcasm, her wit, Billy and Dawn’s goodness and the darkness in Dawn’s past. It all plays off each other really well.”