"The villain is excellent," exclaimed my friend. I was angry. Why is my friend glorifying the villain? Without even bothering about the dark anger on my face, the friend continued, "He keeps his cool all the time and never shouts". That statement was like pouring oil on the fire. We were discussing a new action movie featuring an unlikely hero with a receding hairline and whose name was new in our part of the world. Compared to the hero, the villain looked dashing with a neatly trimmed beard. We were talking about a movie where the hero tries to save his estranged wife from a group of villains who has taken control of a multi-storey office building, and is holding its occupant as hostages. The movie was Die Hard, the hero was Bruce Willis, and the villain was Alan Rickman.
The news of Alan Rickman's death is saddening for me as I had recently seen his performance in Harry Potter. A montage follows the death of Professor Snape after Harry drops Snape's tears in the pensieve. Anyone who has read the book and has seen the eight movies will know how good an actor was Alan Rickman by seeing those scenes. And to think Alan Rickman was the second choice after Tim Roth couldn't do the role. I only remember Die Hard, Robin Hood, Love Actually and Harry Potter series. I initially wondered why Alan Rickman took ages to say a sentence. Then like an acquired taste, I came to enjoy his dialogue delivery. Every syllable was clear to the audience. We waited with bated breath for him to complete a sentence. Even though I dismissed him as just another villain, I began to like him in the subsequent viewings of Die Hard. The more times I saw, the more I liked him.
After Die Hard, I saw him in Robin Hood. I was still young unable to distinguish between Hollywood and British film. I was too naive to understand even the difference in accent when I saw it the first time. Alan Rickman playing the wily Sheriff had the audience in splits when he hurries through the marriage ceremony with Maid Marian. He had us laughing with his eyes rolling to indicate frustration and irritation when Robin Hood breaks through glass trying to save Maid Marian. Then I saw his years later in Love Actually. Despite the film being a feel good one, Alan Rickman's role is a tragic one. The role of a man dragged into infidelity is made memorable by Alan Rickman.
Then came the Harry Potter series. All the books weren't written when he started acting in the series. When you view the final montage, you realize his performance could be interpreted in different ways. For the first time viewer, he is a cold person who hates Potter. For the audience who is seeing it the second time, we see the pain of seeing Lily's eyes, caring for his only friend's son and frustration of Harry becoming more like his father. How can Alan Rickman package it all under one performance? Wasn't he taken away too soon?