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Adieu, Christopher Plummer

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Adieu, Christopher Plummer 20

I  became a Sound Of Music  addict a  bit late. I was  13 when  I saw it for  the first time in Trinidad(West  Indies) with  an appreciative  audience which  knew every line before the characters  spoke, the favourite being  , for reasons unknown, “This  pink drink tastes very….pink!”

 No one  looked at  Christopher  Plummer  in  The Sound Of Music.Handsome as  he  was we  only had eyes  for Julie Andrews. It  was  like noticing Rishi Kapor in Damini  or Prem Rog. That  wasn’t the way the roles were written. The  male lead  must shine in  the shadows. Plummer  proceeded  to make a big name for himself as an actor who could play almost anything, and  that too right till The End,  his end. From the mother-fixated Oedipus(in Oedipus  The King)  to  miserly  billionaire  J Paul Getty  in All The Money In The World.

Towards the winter  of his life he even played a 70-year  old man coming  out of  the closet in  Mike Mills’ Beginners where he had lot of fun with his camp clothes and  ditsy mannerisms. More than  anything,  Plummer played his parts  with  great  gusto. He enjoyed acting and  wasn’t squeamish about  playing deviant characters.

In All The Money In The World he  stepped in at the eleventh  hour to play the  part vacated  by Kevin Spacey after the sex scandals. In an  unprecedented replacement manoeuvre  Plummer was asked to play a part in a film that had already been completed. I  don’t know how Spacey  would have  played Getty.  But  Mr Plummer  owned Getty.

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As far as  playing a character convincingly  goes, he was  next to none. In movie after movie  Mr Plummer created characters that were likeable  warm and  connectible  in spite  of often being  churlish and nasty. The wealthy sly  patriarch in Knives  Out,  the  hard drinking  insufferable grand father  in  Boundaries , the German Emperor  Kaiser Wilhelm 2  in  The Exception, the  late  homosexual  bloomer  in  Beginners, Leo Tolstoy  in  The Last Station….I think I enjoyed Plummer’s performances  in his twilight  years  much more than his earlier work.

  Chistopher  Plummer  enjoyed his  parts  till the very end. In that sense he  is  akin to Judi Dench  who won’t hang up her  boots until God wills it. He willed it  for Plummer  after a  long satisfying  innings.  Way to  go!

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