Alan Rickman is dead! I am very upset. Not personally and emotionally, like I will be if Anil Kapoor or Jackie Shroff or Anupum Kehr dies. Or like I was, when Amrish Puri dead (I was in college, and the news spread through the dorms like wildfire). But as a film watcher, I am upset. Because he was really good, and really eclectic, in his film choices. He challenged himself, and worked with interesting people on interesting projects. If Alan Rickman was in a film, you know that you could expect a certain level of quality and originality.
More importantly, he was where multiple worlds of film met…
Have you ever played the degrees game with movie stars? You start with someone like Brad Pitt, and then the other person has to say a title of a movie they were in, like Thelma and Louise, and then you respond with the name of someone else who was in that film, like Geena Davis, and the other person has to say the name of a Geena Davis movie, like Stuart Little, and then you say Hugh Laurie, and they say Sense and Sensibility, and you say Alan Rickman.
So, the way my sister and I play it, we give ourselves an extra challenge. We pick a starting point, like Cary Grant, and then try to get to the farthest possible ending point, like Jackie Shroff, in the fewest moves possible. And Alan Rickman is invaluable in this.
Cary Grant-Walk Don’t Run-Samantha Egger-The Molly Maguires-Richard Harris-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone-Alan Rickman-Truly Madly Deeply-Juliet Stevenson-Bend it Like Beckham-Anupum Kehr-Happy New Year-Jackie Shroff. Done!
Notice that Alan Rickman is exactly in the center. He is the meeting point between old Hollywood and new India. He is also the meeting point between British independent film and American action. And children’s fantasy and adult romance. He is the center point at which everything intersects.
And the world needs actors like that. So I am sorry we have lost one. And I hope young actors, in India, America, and Britain, are looking at his career, and seeing that they don’t need to limit themselves to one thing or the other, they can find quality where ever it exists and become a part of it.
Update: Now it is a day later, and there has been a similar loss in the world of Indian film. An actor who you may never have thought about, but who’s face you know, and who deserves his own tribute.