Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Paying Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014, on a Sunday, which not just I but any other fan of Hoffman can hardly forget, anymore.)

Before writing any article, you should do your research, I heard someone say from inside of me. I knew nothing of that person inside. It wasn’t someone I met on the way or someone who taught me at college or high school; I did not hear the voice from my memory either. It was, so to speak, a thought. To write this article, this tribute to Hoffman, I do not need any more research than a devotee needs to approve of God’s existence.

The News

Through the haze of an allergic weekend, it hit me.

I was all tired and dull due to runny nose, painful cheeks and heavy forehead, symptoms of allergy. The mild winter of the Southern side brings along with it a blanket of dust and all other allergic particles. Sensitive noses like mine always catch these and wail at the aftermath. I heard a passing news statement while dining in the adjoin room. The TV is in the central hall and it plays mostly Malayalam news channels, as other members of my family prefer these. Apparently, these channels offer little or no info on what happens to the rest of the world. For them the boundaries of the world are the boundaries of Kerala. Occasionally, when someone dies or being elected, they tune into the wider spectrum, meaning the wider areas inside the Indian subcontinent.

That is all.

Hoffman’s death was a passing news item.

No flash news, no breaking story.

I spent the next one day in relative seclusion, inside my room. Getting up and walking around was too hard a thing for me then. I was having difficulty in focusing anything for too long. Everything else was vague, other than the heavy forehead.

It is still unclear, if it was the allergy or the magnitude of the news, it dawned on me, only later, that Hoffman is no more.
Image Courtesy: Hoffman
The Man

I do not know him as an individual. Hoffman’s death though mirror’s in certain terms, the death of one of my favorite pop stars—Michael Jackson. Drug overdose or abuse, as some news reports say, might have killed Hoffman too. I do not know this either that what prompted a persona, with such a magnificence in his being should do drugs or should come down to so terrible a moment, nearing the end of his life.  

My first and ever remembering performance by Hoffman is in Capote, the 2005 movie based on Gerald Clarke's biography Capote, directed by Bennett Miller. I have included Capote in my series on TIC for one of the three of the movies about writers that impressed me—as the first one among the three others.

The Artist

“It's the hardest when someone has a notion about you and it's impossible to convince them otherwise.”—Truman Capote in Capote (film 2005)

Perhaps, because of the same reason, we never tire of admiring this man’s talents in acting. In his field, Philip Seymour Hoffman has set a standard for others. His legacy would be this standard of performance that includes multifaceted arena of acting. He did not just act with his body, but also with his whole being. Even his voice, in Capote, was magically morphed into the character’s.  

For me, Truman Capote will be Philip Seymour Hoffman; and as an individual, who lived at the same time as his, I will share this fortunate encounter with the generations to come.
Image Courtesy: Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman, may your soul rest in peace.

You can also check out my review of Capote here


Gisela Hausmann said...

Very moving and reflective!! I did not know that you are such a fan of "Capote". Your blog reflects in a most beautiful way, how much you appreciated Hoffmann's work, and how much you are going to miss a continuation thereof. Thank you for sharing these personal thoughts.

Intangible Hearts said...

Nice tribute. I wrote and submitted a poem for publication yesterday because I was moved and saddened by the drama of it all.