Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Nazirs of Coronation Street

Guest blog post from Corrie fan long-time Coronation Street Blog rader Nathan Richardson, who shares his thoughts on the Nazir family.
(This post was originally posted on the Coronation Street Blog November 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It has been nearly one year now since Kal first appeared in Coronation Street. Introduced as the ex-army pal of Gary Windass, his raison d’ĂȘtre on the street was to be Dev’s personal trainer. The producers certainly thought the character had potential because, twelve months on, he has now opened a gym on the street, become romantically involved with Leanne, and introduced us to four members of his family.

But does anybody actually like him?

Personally, I thought his arrival rather ridiculous: the only friend from the army Gary ever mentioned was Quinny, and he died in battle. Suddenly, the proprietor of the corner shop has a protruding waist, and so Gary stepped in with military quickness, ready to implicate Dev unto a fitness regime courtesy of his old friend Kal? It seemed silly at worst, but, okay, this Coronation Street, it takes great liberties with what might actually happen in life, and we have to accept that.

But then (as always happens) Kal settled into the street, and I still didn’t warm to him. He worked also with Nick, after his accident, and they were occasionally seen out running together, but beside that he seemed to just drift. He drank in the Bistro, in the Rovers, became friendly with the other characters, but he had no real purpose; we knew he had children, that his wife had died, but he lived away from the street, and was something of a lone bird. If you’d have taken him away he’d have been quickly forgotten.

And then, this year, they introduced his family, and then my view began to change. Okay, his father, Sharif, didn’t do much for me. He played the archetypal interfering father, but Coronation Street is brilliant for its female characters, and once we met the female Nazirs (and once I accepted that Kal, judging by appearances, became a father aged ten) I began to love them.

Yasmeen, Kal’s mother, has, since Sylvia’s sad departure, taken on the feisty harridan role, the battle axe. A retired librarian, she is dogmatic and determined. In the past we’re told she has been arrested for protesting, and when the Weatherfield Library was under threat of closure, she quickly intervened, and staged a sit in protest, where, quite brilliantly, she spoke favourably of Elizabeth Smart’s wonderful novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. It made brilliant viewing. “The argument of the broken window pane is the most valuable argument in modern politics.” These words were spoken by another empowered Mancunian woman: Emmeline Pankhurst.

Yasmeen was introduced as another forthright, no-nonsense activist for the greater-good in society. Given her history, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her smashing windows, and I hope we see more of this aspect to her character. In short, I love her. Most recently, she has purchased the former butcher’s shop and opened it as a community centre. This gives her solid ground on the street, and hopefully the nucleus of many brilliant story-lines to come.

Alya is Kal’s daughter, and like Yasmeen, I think she is completely heavenly and fabulous. A fashion graduate, she works on the reception desk at the gym. She is friends with Gary Windass, and between the two there is something of a suppressed desire for each other. I think this is rather nice, rather old-fashioned, and it’s a joy to watch. The audience wants them to get together, but Gary is an unskilled labourer, and a father, too – there’s no way her family would welcome him, but we know that true love is blind to these things, and we want them to be together. Though Alya is not exactly an intellectual (to Yasmeen’s horror she confessed to having not read Wuthering Heights) she has more cultured tastes than Gary: at her request and his reluctance they recently went to see a Spanish film at the art-house cinema in Manchester. Soon, I believe she will become the trainee manager at Underworld, which shall also give the character more stability on the street, and it shall be interesting to see how her relationship with Gary develops now that, oh my, they have actually kissed.

And that leaves us with Zeedan, who only appeared back in September. It’s probably too early to cast an opinion on him, but from what I’ve seen of him I like. He has perfected the look of disappointment and is often seen shaking his head despairingly at his father, Kal. He’s currently working at the builder’s site, and I’ve no idea where he’s headed, but I’m keen to learn.

So yes, the Nazirs – I’ve gone from not liking Kal at all to not like him at all but adoring his family. They are a diverse bunch, and they provide great comic relief, but with the absent mother, and the occasionally fragile inter-generational relationships, there’s something very serious about them too.

It’s been a while since the street had a new family, and with three generations to work with, I think the writers are having great fun. I for one am having fun watching them, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Nathan Richardson
Twitter: @unfingermarked

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. I still really don't care for Kaly - but absolutely love the rest of the family.

For it might also be that I just don't see Kal as the father of Ayla and Zeedan. Both from an age/appearance perspective and from how they interact with him - he just doesn't seem like much of a father. Now, that may be intentionally done as he was likely deployed for the majority of the time the kids were growing up - but in general he doesn't seem to command much respect. He's more the bumbling dad who gets walked upon - which is a character type I don't enjoy.

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