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.
~ Patel planning on making a fortune out of Duma.
Mr. Babubhai Patel, or better known as Mr. Patel, is the secondary antagonist of Disney's 1989 live action film Cheetah, which is based on the 1970 novel The Cheetahs by the late Alan Caillou. 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 ruthless poacher named Abdullah.
At first, Patel was a kind and friendly individual who liked the Johnson family. However, when he realized that his uncle races cheetahs and greyhounds, he figured that he could make a fortune out of Duma by exploiting her speed against greyhounds. He also hired two poachers to help him in his scheme and broke into the family's home to steal the whistle that Ted uses to call for Duma. Yet he still cares for the Johnson family, as shown when he refused to let Abdullah kill Ted and Susan.
Patel is first seen when the Johnson family go to his store. As the parents are about to buy something from Patel, Duma walks out of the store and Patel warns them, but Ted uses his whistle to call for Duma and she comes back. When the family come up with a plan to release Duma into the wild, Patel offers to buy her, 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.
The next day, Patel and Nigel hire a poacher named Abdullah to kidnap Duma and explain their plan on exploiting her in the race. The night before Ted and Susan are to leave Africa, the trio arrive at the house. Nigel demands Patel to know where Duma is and is about to give up, but Patel, remembering Ted's whistle from earlier, comes up with a plan to get the whistle and Nigel hands him his flashlight. Patel manages to get in and finds the whistle in Ted's desk. Ted comes in to get more tapes for music, but Patel manages to sneak past him and escape. He uses the whistle and they succeed in capturing Duma.
After a tearful goodbye with Morogo, the family stops at Patel’s store to get gasoline before their flight back to California. Patel sees the tears in Susan’s eyes and asks if she is crying over losing her pet. Noticing this, Ted confronts Patel how he knew about Duma's disappearance, but Patel lies to him by assuring him that he was mentioning about Duma's release in Cheetah Valley. However, Ted notices a similar marking pattern on Abdullah's shoes and realizes that Patel took Duma. Ted tries to convince his parents about Patel's scheme, but they refuse to listen to him. 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. Ted tries to come up with a plan to confront them, but Susan and Morogo decide to just sneak in at nightfall. When Ted and Susan enter the room, they notice a stack of fliers advertising Duma's race and realize Patel's scheme. Hearing Duma’s whimpers, they enter a barn and find her locked in a cage. Susan goes back into the toolshed to find something to break the lock and are jumped by Abdullah. Nigel and Patel arrive in the scene 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.
After escaping from custody by a policeman after they were contacted by Earl about their disappearance, the children make it to Nairobi with the help of a sheep farmer. The children then reach Nairobi Downs in time to hear Duma's race being announced. Patel crows to Nigel that he has bet a fortune that Duma will lose as they bet with the other gamblers. Duma takes an early lead in the race, but as the race progresses, the greyhounds catch up and pass Duma. However, Ted grabs his whistle from a policeman and blows. Hearing the whistle, Duma gets a second wind and wins by five lengths, causing Patel and Nigel to lose the bet against her as the other gamblers surround them, demanding compensation for their bets. He and Nigel were likely arrested as Ted could have informed the security guard about their involvement with Abdullah.
Oh, look! Your cheetah, she's escaped! She's gone!
~ Patel panicking as Duma leaves 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, making Ted realize that he 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 to Nigel about their fortune.
Patel is based on Shama from the original novel. In the book, Shama revealed that he wanted to have the cheetahs sold to him and brought a greyhound with him to train them. He also planned to race them in India, rather than in Africa.
His first name "Babubhai" is never mentioned, but shortened into "B. Patel" on the store and the fliers for Duma's race.