I hated him. Yes I did!
Thousands swooned over him. No girl who devoured rom- coms – and I doubt there exists such a girl who does not – could stand a word against him. He was worth raising all the Hugh and cry for – The quintessential rakish cad who would break hearts before he met that one girl who changed it all.
But, I just hated him.
He basked in the glory of his ‘Englishness’ and never wanted to be otherwise. Add to that how gallantly he complemented his on screen exploits with his off screen trysts. I simply found him deplorable.
In spite of that I couldn’t ignore him; just the kind of Catch-22 situation men (and women) such as him put lesser mortals into. I couldn’t help watching the rom-coms he immortalized and told myself I was watching them for reasons other than him. I drew a malicious pleasure in pounding him for his monotony, lack of versatility, stupid eye fluttering and that perpetual ‘hands on hips’ posture.
It did not occur to me that Notting Hill wouldn’t be half as charming with someone else as the book-shop owner and those quirky English people without him; Bridget Jones wouldn’t have known her worth and that of Mr. Darcy’s if Hugh the cad was not present, Four Weddings and a Funeral would be as gloomy as the English weather without his wit. When I found that I was deluding myself a little too often, I simply skipped Two Weeks Notice and About a Boy half way through.
It was not until I watched Music and Lyrics – twice – that I started growing an odd respect for him.
Here was a man blissfully typecast. He had mannerisms. He had an accent that was irritatingly enunciated. He grinned, never smiled. He delivered lines with a deadpan face and managed to contort his facial muscles the next moment!
He slouched, stuttered and scratched the corner of his eye. And in the morning the first thing he would say to the girl he had made love to the previous night would most definitely be a confused ‘HI’. The idiosyncratic British man-child was suddenly rather endearing.
He did not give a fig about ‘deep, dark’ roles. He never wanted to be non-British and he even despised his own profession. Neither did he care about how people perceived him, the least bit. And he never pretended otherwise.
All of a sudden Hugh granted me something more than I cared to see or admit.
The incredible profoundness in absolute light-headedness!