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Saturday 16 October 2021

Jimmi Harkishin interview: Dev's devastating decision in super soap week

Heartbreak comes in no small measures for Dev Alahan this Super Soap Week as he is forced to choose which of his children to rescue from his burning car. In this interview, Jimmi Harkishin tells us about the dynamic in the Alahan family, and what pushes his ultimate decision. 

In recent months, Aadi has been feeling left out as Dev focuses more on Asha, and this has created a tension within the family. Jimmi said: “Dev is aware that he doesn’t pour as much attention over Aadi, and he even says to Mary that he understands that his son gets overlooked sometimes.

“Dev is aware of the dynamic, but he doesn’t feel like it is that much of a problem because it’s not of Dev’s making; he has to take care of the kid that is in trouble, Asha. He doesn’t think that Aadi has any problems, just the normal, everyday kind of ones.” 

Despite Dev putting all of his attention into Asha, Jimmi says that Dev would give less attention to Asha if the roles were reversed. He said: “Dev doesn’t favour Asha more at all and as a parent myself, I know you would never allow yourself to think that. 

“He looks after, cares about and loves them both but it’s just that his daughter has been going through a difficult period, so he thinks that’s why Aadi feels left out, but he doesn’t think Aadi is right to feel that way and he doesn’t think there is anything he can do about it.”

Since Sunita’s death in 2013, family has become everything to Dev as he has had to parent Aadi and Asha by himself. Jimmi tells us: “It’s a lovely thing to play as an actor because if the twins had a mum, then a lot of their problems would go straight to her, or they would come to Dev through their mum. 

“Especially all the things that his daughter went through like the skin lightening and the sexting storyline, it was a difficult thing for a father to consider about his daughter and Dev found it really uncomfortable. 

“But it is really nice to see the problems the children have through the prisms of a single dad and how he deals with them. For ten years he has been there as their sole carer and obviously he has made mistakes along the way, but he has devoted his life to his son and daughter; he hasn’t met anyone else romantically, he hasn’t left them and he hasn’t compromised them in any way. 

“He has been both parents for the twins and he has been a good one. Mary was there for a while when they were younger which was really important, but it has all fallen on him now. He is always cooking, always cleaning… he always has that pinny on!”

During this major week of episodes, the Alahans are on their way to their holiday but get lost down a country lane. However, the prison van holding Harvey Gaskell suddenly smashes into the back of their car. 

When Dev wakes up, he realises there’s big trouble ahead and knows they must get out of the car, and quickly. However, he can only rescue one of his children, and decides it’s Asha. 

Jimmi said: “When [Dev] wakes up, he realises that they have been hit from behind. He’s choking and there’s smoke in the car. Aadi is trapped in the front of the car, but he is lucid and talking whereas Asha is unconscious. 

“It’s a knee-jerk reaction from Dev- who do you try to get to safety? His daughter isn’t talking, she is not responding, and I really do think that is the only thing that Dev could have done. It wasn’t a choice of favouritism; it was who needed his help more at that time. He had to pull her out and he was going to come straight back for his son but then the car explodes.” 

As Aadi is rushed to hospital, how will Dev cope with his decision? “He doesn’t feel guilty, but he is hurt and distraught because it is really painful to see anything happen to your children. Dev wishes it was him and wishes he could take his son’s place. It’s an honest pain that he feels.” 

Of course, a huge stunt like this requires a lot of hard work from all involved, and Jimmi said: “It was really good, but also really hard and very tough. The whole team from the director to the camera crew to the sound team were absolutely amazing. 

“Brett Fallis is a great director who had obviously thought about it all and the drones and the way the actual stunt took place was amazing. It was a full night of filming under rain bars, and they threw out thousands of gallons of litres of water which was really challenging. 

“When filming something like an explosion, it requires a different kind of acting, as it’s a response. You can’t prepare it like a monologue or a scene with someone, it just has to be in the moment, and you have to go for it and hope you make the right emotional choices. You can only blow the car up once, there are no second takes! It’s a really raw, basic approach to acting, it’s an emotional thing.”

Long-term Corrie fans will know this isn’t the first explosion Dev has been involved in. “When the corner shop exploded, with Maya, that was epic as well, but this is amazing. Looking back at the stunt with mad Maya, it was so long ago, I feel like a different person! I love all the character work that you have to do when you have a scene with any of the great actors on Coronation Street but doing stunts, you are on your own and you have to find your way through it.” 

As Dev struggles to see his son in danger, will Aadi pull through?

Sophie Williams

Find me on Twitter @sophie_writer1

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

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