Wednesday 25 November 2009

Dev Alahan: Is he silly or is he a snake?

We have just celebrated 10 years of Devendra Alahan on Coronation Street. He was introduced as a cousin to the Desai family, an owner of 7 corner shops and a man about town (i.e. playboy). He was *apparently* based in Birmingham but his back story was later changed, I presume, since, in 2005, it was revealed that he had several children of varying ages from mothers who had worked for him in his various shops. One of these children, Shereen, even has a child of her own so Playboy Dev is actually a granddad, a fact that is never mentioned!

Dev has always been a smooth operator where women are concerned. He fancies himself quite the ladies' man which has landed him in hot water a time or two. When he arrived, a girlfriend from Birminham, Amy, followed him to Manchester. She was upset because he dumped her after promising to marry her. She was relentless though Dev denied everything. She was later exposed as a liar after she pretended to have attempted to slash her wrists and said she was pregnant when she wasn't. Knowing Dev better now than I did then, I'm unconvinced that she was lying about his affections for her. Granted, she took things to extremes, but it's very possibly he wooed her and then left her high and dry. She just didn't take the rejection very well.

For all he thinks he's irresistable to women, he hasn't made the smartest choices, either. His ill-advised drunken Christams fling with older Deirdre Barlow turned many a viewer's stomach. "Mad" Maya nearly killed Dev and Sunita both after he rejected her for being a nutcase. He also had a relationship with Tracy Barlow and when he'd had enough of her madness, she destroyed all his clothes in fury! I bet he thanked his lucky stars for that escape when she later murdered Charlie Stubbs! Then there was the mother and daughter "tag team", Nina and Tara Mendel. Star struck Dev was flattered by former Bollywood star Nina's seduction and then fell for her daughter who seemed to me to be just as single minded as her mother and proved it with her revenge plot to publically humiliate Dev who had had a one night stand after he thought she'd dumped him.

He almost married Geena but between her interfering mother and his jealousy, that didn't work out. In the end, no matter how many women he dated or had one night stands with, the one he wanted to marry turned out to be a long time employee, Sunita, who was also a good Indian girl that Mother would Approve of. It didn't last. When she found out about all his children by accident, she dumped him. And rightly so. It's not really the kind of thing you should keep from someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.

I've just rewatched the episodes where Sunita discovered that Amber and the others were his children. He had romps with at least three women, gave them jobs and let them live rent free over the shops. I was always a bit surprised that Sunita never knew, before she was involved with Dev, since she worked at one of the shops for a long time. Surely the gossip would get around? The others seemed to know about each other. That's what happens when you rewrite history and skip the details, I guess.

But I digress. Even when Sunita confronted Dev with the evidence, he continued to lie and try to cover it up. It was only when he realized she thought he was having an affair and had fathered a baby with Shereen that he admitted Shereen was his daughter and he had no idea about her baby. He was *still* dismissive of his child and grandchild! His lackluster attitude appalled me and Sunita both and I never could blame her for chucking him out. He was very upset. His wife was pregnant with twins and threatening to keep him from seeing his children but he had never played a part in any of the other children's lives. He said that was down to their mothers but yet the mothers didn't have a problem accepting jobs and free rent so I always thought it had more to do with him not really wanting to be involved. It probably occurred to Sunita as well. Her children were different, you see. He was actually married to her, you see.

Dev is a snob as well. He rates himself as a sophisticated businessman. He plays golf (and surely could afford a membership to the country club in his own right rather than ride on the coattails of a guest membership?), he lives in a posh flat. Because he's a snob, his character ends up almost a parody of himself. He's often written as getting into situations that make him look a fool because he's a slave to his snobbery or when his high opinion of himself ends up landing him in a situation where he looks ridiculous. Being a father to a teenage girl has brought him down a peg or two. She doesn't bend to his will and often had him gasping in exasperation, and she often wrapped him around her little finger. That has often provided some amusement over the last few years. For all of his sophistication, real and imagined, he was flummoxed by a teenage girl, the one woman he couldn't win over by his big brown eyes and smooth dulcet tones!

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