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Saturday 23 March 2019

Charlie de Melo interview: Imran's future on Coronation Street

How is Imran coping in the aftermath of losing Rana?
He’s completely devastated and the way in which he’s expressing that and dealing with it is by projecting everything outwards in a blind fury. It all seems so senseless and he wants to find out who’s responsible, he’s not satisfied with the idea it was just an accident, that’s not good enough for Imran, this needs to be a problem that he can solve. It needs to be someone’s fault, there needs to be a dragon he can slay rather than just dealing with his grief. It’s a distraction tactic from his grief but it becomes his focus.

Does Imran’s anger affect his relationship with Toyah, is he pushing her away?  
He does push back against a lot of her help and support, she’s trying to be measured but it can be difficult if you have a close relationship with someone who occupies a counselling role in their professional life for him to not feel like he’s on the clock, the relationship can feel more like patient and counselor rather than a couple on equal footing and that does cause some friction. It’s a lot to deal with and it becomes the focal point of their relationship but the few times we see Imran really let his guard down it is with Toyah.

Imran and Rana were incredibly close, especially after the problems with their parents and their father’s death, does Imran suddenly feel very alone in the world?
Yes he feels very alone because that was the one relationship in his life that he was always sure of. His marriage didn’t work, he’s had a very strained relationship with his parents, but the one that was a constant was his relationship with Rana and to have that taken out of the equation all of a sudden it does really take a piece of him, she takes a piece of him with her when she goes.

Will we see a very different Imran from now on?
Yes, a relationship that’s been fortified his whole life has taken away in the blink of an eye and the entire dynamic within his family, work and friends is going to be different now.

Imran is determined to find out who can be held accountable for Rana’s death, what are his first thoughts?
His eyes immediately go towards both Nick and Carla in so far as they were in charge of that building and should have known what was going on. They’re negligent at best but as time goes on he takes on a kind of detective role; talking to eyewitnesses, people who worked in the factory, trying to piece the puzzle together

How does Imran react when he overhears Peter urging Roy to ask Wayne to go easy on Carla?  
It makes him more suspicious, surely these aren’t the things you should be saying in the middle of a very serious investigation. There are people who seem to be acting in Carla’s interests rather than those who are directly affected and that becomes something of an obsession for Imran. He wants justice to be served and by people going easy on Carla due to her fragile state it seems to Imran like the wrong person is being prioritised here.

Carla suddenly comes clean at Rana’s memorial and admits she knew there was a problem with the roof, how does Imran react to that?   
It’s a mixture of vindication and an outward pouring of anger towards Carla and all those who haven’t been listening to him. She may not have known the extent of the damage to the roof but as far as Imran’s concerned she may as well have been holding a bloody knife.

The memorial descends into chaos so later in the week we see Kate holding a second memorial, how does this affect Imran, especially when he hears that Yasmeen is opening up the community centre as a temporary factory for Carla?
To Imran it smacks of people carrying on as if Carla’s admission at the first memorial didn’t happen and that’s like a slap in the face. He feels like he’s being fobbed off, he hasn’t got the answers he needs or the justice he so desperately wanted. Not only that he hears that Yasmeen is going to essentially work with Carla and he suddenly feels does no one else even cares about honouring Rana’s memory and finding out the circumstances surrounding her death. It feels like they’re just paying lip service with the memorial and it’s galling for him but then it also strengthens his resolve to getting answers. Others can return to work and step back into a life with some semblance of reality but Imran doesn’t have that anymore, his one constant has been taken away.

Were you sad to see Bhavna go and are you looking forward to playing a different side to Imran?
Yes to both, I’m very sad that Bhav’s gone, she was the first person I worked with here and we’ve always had a really good working relationship and a familial chemistry that I don’t think comes that easily. We had that sibling bond from day one and it made the difficult scenes much easier to film, it was such a nice thing to come into in a job that was so alien to me. I’m really going to miss that but we are going to see a different Imran now and it’s a real challenge. When we’ve seen him in relationships, commanding a courtroom, expressing his anger those things aren’t too exposing as an actor but showing true devastation you really have to crack open your chest a bit and show what’s underneath to make it ring true. I’ve found it very nerve wracking, I wanted to do a good job and do right by Bhavna and for the ripple effects of Rana’s death to continue. But the scripts have been so well written and Faye, Georgia, Richard and Sally Ann have been so supportive that I’ve been able to open myself up and really explore it. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot which is really great.
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