Warning : Nerd alert.

Fellow (old time) blogger Nisha had commented on her opinion of Jab Tak Hain Jaan and how it failed to move her. After seeing the movie, I have to say I agree with her. A lot of people online talk of how awesome a love story it is. Try to talk about the most basic flaws ( the very premise for the couple's separation and the 'cure' for the second twist ) and they say - it's Bollywood. This is acceptable.
Only it isn't acceptable. 


I can accept that a man turns into a green raging monster called the Hulk.
I can accept that an ordinary guy finds out he may be the messiah within the Matrix and perform gravity defying acts.
I can accept that a guy is soon going to come from the planet Krypton wearing a blue superhero outfit ( though I am still skeptical after all these years as to why he wears red underwear on top of his blue outfit )

I can accept these simply because there is an explanation for these events within the given storyline of the above movies which claims to be about people with super powers. But in a normal every day world, I don't see how you can ignore such basic flaws of depicting love, especially when 90% of the Bollywood movies deal with love stories.
Which brings me to what I wanted to ask you : 
In your opinion, if you had to choose just one true expression of love ( either from a book or movie ) as an example which touched your heart the most, which would it be ?

For me, it is a very unlikely choice : a gaunt, villainous character whose motives we never trusted. A man who never got to even tell the woman he loved how he felt. A person who for six and a half books, made us and the lead protagonist hate him only to reveal at the end a stunning reversal of character. 
I am, of course, talking about Severus Snape from the Harry Potter movies. 
Having done everything possible to make us hate him ( including killing Harry's best chance of a defense against Voldemort - Professor Dumbledore ), there really was no way we could have seen redemption for him when the final book / movie released. And yet, in his final memories which he 'gave' Harry, we realise how big a sacrifice the character chose. 

Having lost his childhood love Lily to his school nemesis James Potter, he had begged Dumbledore to protect them when he knew Voldemort was after the couple. When that too had failed, Dumbledore had given him the task of surreptitiously looking after Harry and being a villain in his eyes. Dumbledore had clinically set forth a long term plan to defeat Voldemort should he return, knowing fully well that his plan would require the sacrifice of Harry Potter at some stage. 
But Snape did it for the purest reason possible - for the girl he had loved and lost. Even though Harry was a constant reminder of his loss in love, he protected him because of his love for Harry's mother, Lily. 

It is best manifested in the Patronus charms which reflect some strong emotion of the wizard who casts them. Lily's charm was a doe, reflecting her love for James ( whose Patronus was a stag ), Tonk's patronus changed into a wolf ( depicting her love for Lupin, the werewolf ). Harry's own Patronus charm was a stag, depicting his idolisation of his father. 

At moments when Harry was at his weakest, he ( and we as the reader ) would find a Patronus charm of a doe coming to his aid ( when he first faces the Dementors and later to find the sword of Gryffindor ). Like Harry, we too assumed that it was a manifestation of his late mothers Patronus in some form. It was only at the end that we realise that the doe was also Snape's Patronus. 

When Lily died, Snape's Patronus changed into a doe, depicting the strongest emotion of his heart even decades later - his selfless love for Lily. 
  
And that, for me, is the truest form of love that could be depicted. A love that lived on after losing the girl he loved to someone he hated. A love that persisted even after her death. A love he kept hidden even as he willingly allowed himself to play the villain for the public. An oath he took to look after the child of the man he hated... because he was also the son of the woman he loved. 

It is equally impactful, both in movie and text format... I still remember the audience in the theatre watching this sequence with pin-drop silence. In 7 minutes at the end of 8 movies spread across a decade, we find ourselves uncovering the biggest twist of the series - a love story that was hidden in plain sight all along.




“So the boy . . . the boy must die?” asked Snape quite calmly.
“And Voldemort himself must do it, Severus. That is essential.”
Another long silence. Then Snape said, “I thought . . . all these years . . . that we were protecting him for her. For Lily.”
“We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try his strength,” said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut. 
Snape looked horrified. “You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?”
“Don’t be shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?”
“Lately, only those whom I could not save,” said Snape. He stood up. “You have used me.”
“Meaning?”
“I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter —”
“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”
“For HIM?” shouted Snape. “Expecto Patronum!" 
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.

                                 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


For that one word at the end, Snape wins my vote for the truest form of love depicted ( both in the book and also as portrayed brilliantly by Alan Rickman in the movies. ) 

When you think of love in books/movies, which is the one character that comes to your mind ?


Author note: August 21,2013 - This has been submitted for the Harry Potter festival.


70 Comments

amit said…
Heathcliff comes to my mind instantly. Thinking about that guy gives me goosbumps. What mad love for Catherine! But of course, he was not forgiving.
And aren't our movies filled with love triangles where one of the character dies at the end? :)
Kamal Hassan in Sagar, Rishi Kapoor in Deewana, Amitabh in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.....its an endless list.
Nihal Majeed said…
Beautifully written.. made me cry..
Nisha said…
My favourite Bollywood love stories are QSQT, DDLJ, Jab we Met.. They seemed real without being cheesy. Jab tak hai Jaan was silly!!
And thankyou for making me famous..I was surprised to see my name in the beginning!
Reflections said…
I loved this post Roshan!!!!

I havent watched the movie yet but the very scene when I read the book made me tear up.
@character who depicted true love.....I thought a bit here.....2-3 of them come to mind but Noah from 'The Notebook' stands out for me...his love is something else. I cried so much for him towards the end;-P
Then there's an old movie with Mohanlal[dont knw the name] who gives away his new-born son whose birth he had waited so eagerly for. The movie itself was ok but Mohanlal played the part so well tht I have never forgotten it.
Roshan R said…
Wuthering Heights.. really good option. And yes, that passion turns nasty after a crucial point, doesnt it ?
Our movies have so many instances no doubt - esp in 80s and early 90s, the trend for a love triangle was to have one sacrifice his life so the others didnt have to decide ( all the ones u named ).. I think from Saajan, the trend changed towards 'let the other guy have her' ( Saajan, Yeh Dillagi )
Roshan R said…
Thank you Nihal.. Severus Snape always struck me as an amazingly complicated fictional character.
Roshan R said…
Bollywood - I'll say Jab We Met, Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na... those struck me as realistic and heart warming.

And famous ? Sorry, pal.. being in my blog wont make ya famous - for that, you and THE BOY need to have your own Youtube hit video - maybe a Gangnam style in Goa video :D
Roshan R said…
Thanks. It moved me both in the book and in the movie... even when I knew it was coming in the movie, it was just presented so heartbreakingly well.

Noah from Notebook is my second place for sure... please get Nicholas Sparks 'The Wedding' if you havent read it before- you will get to see Noah once more in another really sweet story.

Hmm... cant recall this movie but I'm guessing this is one of the earlier 80s movies, right ? Might have seen bits of this on TV
BK Chowla, said…
This might surprise some,but, I for one never watch SRK movies..First and last I saw was Bazigar.
Just don't feel like watching him make faces.
Tan said…
I love the love between Jodha and Akbar in the movie 'Jodha Akbar'. The Akbar in the movie is a true gentleman :-).

I have also been touched by books like 'PS I Love You' by Cecelia Ahern and 'The Choice' by Nicholas Sparks.
Rachna said…
Yep the Snape bit was so surprising! And we see so many of these love lasts always stories in Bollywood. I can't recall any cinematic love story affecting me that deeply. But, I still dig movies like Masoom, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia etc. that pull at your heart strings.
Rohan said…
I am not a big romanic story fan but from my limited experience I dont think there is anyone better than Snape. . You will get goosebumps when you read his story. .

Bollywood have always exaggerated romance taking the audience for granted. .
Roshan R said…
Ironically, two of his best performances barely involve romance at all : Chak de India & Swades.
Roshan R said…
Havent read The Choice.. lets see if i can get my hands on a copy :)
Roshan R said…
Very few Bollywood movies over the last two decades actually work from a realistic point of view...
Not counting love stories, movies that definitely touched my heart : Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, Pursuit of Happyness, the ending of The Mist.
Roshan R said…
Exactly Rohan... I always found his character intriguing but after the conclusion of the series, when you know everything that happened before, I just felt he was easily a better character than Dumbledore.. as I said, Dumbledore was more clinical and goal-oriented, using his feelings against him.

Very few Bollywoood movies bother to portray it naturally - thats what bugs me more than anything else.
Nagalakshmi V said…
Ah, thanks for writing out the dialogue. It moved me so much to relive it :)
Sumana said…
For me it is the movie '50 first dates'..Oh! can someone love so selflessly :)) ..
Arunima said…
My fav unconditional lovers
Forest Gump's love for Jenny
Marge's love for Homer Simpson
Just to fit in although personally I have never seen the movie or read the book ....Edward's love for Bella (I can understand Bella's POV i mean come on he is a vampire; he is irresistable ; but what the hell does he see in her ??)
Rachna said…
Shawshank Redemption is a favorite of mine too. Topic for Appletini perhaps :-P.
Bhavana Nissima said…
Roshan, this post is so sweet and idyllic. I have not watched Harry Potter series fully nor have I shown much care but your post makes me want to watch it. And although I have seen and read many romantic books and movies, today, I cannot recall even one character. I wonder why! Guess I am too much of a cynic:(
Roshan R said…
A 'top 10 romantic movies' post or a 'top 10 movies that touched my heart ( excluding love stories )' post... can the latter even be a title ?
Either way, yes.. its time for an Appletini post :)
Roshan R said…
It is really understated - they dont point out the inference... just leave you to understand the significance.
Roshan R said…
Sumana... this is for you. Prepare to be shocked :)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1285535/Two-car-crashes-leave-Michelle-Philpots-24-hour-memory.html
Roshan R said…
Forrest Gump.. now thats another example.
Marge for Homer .. haha. Did not see that one coming.
And Edward for Bella ? Somehow I just hate that series.. atleast the movies. Dont know about the books.
Roshan R said…
Sadly, life does have a way of making cynics of romantics as well. Thats speaking from experience, both first hand and observed as well :)
drprashant said…
sweet and romantic..!! i hated this character next to 'You-Know-Who' in this series..!
This is very sweet..! I always remember Kuch Kuch Hota Hai when I think about love. Cos I lived the life of Kajol in that movie. Laughed upon, but loved in a different way. The day she tries to dress up and everyone laughs. I felt that scene was a depiction of myself. And finally she finds love later in her life, again, that is also my story. I think Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is one movie which is closest to my heart. Of course, Rani Mukherji's 18 letters to her daughter one each on her birthday and such cheesy stuff could have been avoided of course. If not for that letter drama it wouldnt be a Bollywood movie :D
beingFab said…
That was beautiful!!! I've read all the Harry Potter books and I always suspected there was more behind Snape's perceived personality. But the doe patronus thing completely escaped me, and I just love the way you've put the focus on it here. I think for me, 'The Tale of Two Cities' comes close to the ultimate sacrifice for love. Also, the tumultuous relationship between Scarlett and Rhett as well as Heathcliff and Catherine are pretty passionate. P.S. I Love You was heartbreaking.
Rohit said…
Beautifully written! Poetic if I dare say so; wud b the word to describe the love Snape had for Lily....
As for bollywood,love is still all about swinging around trees and singing songs...and of late,spending crores, going to exotic locations, swinging around trees and singing songs.
Roshan R said…
I always wondered which side he was actually playing for.. but after the last book, there was no doubt in my mind this was the best character of the whole story.
Such a troubled character, caught in two worlds and also bound by his own love for Harry's mother...
Roshan R said…
I always wondered on Rani's letters... why was she so confident Kajal wouldn't get anyone else IN ALL THOSE YEARS :D

And glad to see you got the happily ever after of KKHH :)

Lazy Pineapple said…
I find Kamal Hassan's love for Sridevi in Sadma to be so pure and heartbreaking.
I am a big fan of the Movie 'You've got mail'. I love the way Tom hanks character keeps loving Meg Ryan's character even though he knows she hates him.
Forrest Gump is another example where he loves the character of Jenny so selflessly...

Snape definitely came as a surprise...I always wondered whether he saw James Potter in Harry potter and felt angry about his lost love.
Roshan R said…
Heathcliff and Catherine seems a popular choice, if maybe a bit scary in the latter stages :)
I like how JK Rowling understated the scene in the book when it occurs yet shows its relevance via Harry finally realising the sacrifice Snape made for all these years.
Roshan R said…
sadly yes, Bollywood has taken a few strides forward this last decade, but then for every two steps forward, takes 5 steps back... I cant believe after all these years, we still need to show dancing in foreign locales as a sign of finding love !!!
Roshan R said…
Superb examples... all of them. Sadma is a brilliant example. Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail was so sweet especially in the scenes after he realises its her...as is the character of Gump.

Snape definitely would have been pissed seeing James again in Harry ( many a time characters talked of how Harry looks like his dad ) yet his love for Lily made him override those feelings and look out for the boy. Now, thats love :)
First that Premium Blogger badge is still hitting my eyes :/ I am soooo jealous.. jab tak hai jaan should not even be called a romantic movie.. i have not yet watched it.. but i am sure SRK gets to choose between two gals... I think uske real life mein romance hai hi nahi..that is why screen pein hamesha u will find him with two women or even more...

Now that I have made my hatred towards u & SRK clear..u have written such a sweet article.. as I was reading the only romantic scene I could think of was from 'Casablanca' you know that one when rick asks her to go with her husband because he thinks she will regret it later..he said something like.. not today, not tomorrow but later for the rest of your life.. something like that.. oh that was soooo much love.. really loved it :) :) and apna bollywood i think i just love Jab We Met.. i have watched it umpteen times and still not bored...the story was good and the characters were played out so well..
Anonymous said…
THis is the Dasharatham movie... Doc.. :-)
Vidya
Anonymous said…
Love Story - All the way..... and Notebook....
I did also love the relation between Paige Taylor and Barney in Doctors & Acts of Love, ofcourse (Erich Segal).....That reminds me.... Thornbirds...!!!!
The list is endless..... but will stop with these

Movies - Philadelphia, Forrest Gump,Chitram( the scene where Mohanlal begs for his life back).... Strangely for me, KKHH is all about Salman's sacrifice ( Being a hard core Salman fan, may be)

B.Rgds
Vidya
simply me said…
I have never read harry potter books :)...though have watched a few movies in the series....
the post is beautiful :) :) i am still wondering how did my friends not mentions anything abt this particular part of snape..
Well love depicted in movies hmm there are so many...my all time fav is a telugu movie called GODAVARI is simple amazing :) :) rest is all the same ddlj,kkhh,Ugly truth cant remember any more now...but in books LOVE STORY by eric segal, man that is an epic novel...then there is nicholas sparks books...one thing i dont understand why does hse always kill characters or separate them. my first book was Nights in Rodanthe ..it gave me goosebumps ...recently read where rainbow ends by ceclia ahern which is a bit slow but a lovely one :) :)
broca's area said…
My friend.....I have never seen anyone sincerely like anyone so much.....in movies I have always felt that its just a story.....:)
Roshan R said…
oooh.. did I mention, I was gonna duplicate that PREMIUM BLOGGER badge into a wallpaper filled with pics of the PREMIUM BLOGGER BADGE and then put it up as the background of this PREMIUM BLOG so that people know that its a PREMIUM BLOGGER BLOG. :D

"Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." - that was the Casablanca quote. And a movie well worth the hype.

As for Bollywood, I still get goosbumps when I hear that Tum Se Hi number - but yes, it was a brilliantly taken movie. Imtiaz Ali brought out the best of both the leads.

Roshan R said…
Haha.. I had a feeling this was the same movie from the Mohanlal conversation at Appletini :)
Roshan R said…
Love Story and Notebook for me above the others - as I mentioned to someone else earlier, find Nicholas Sparks 'The Wedding'... gives you another chance to meet Noah.

Chitram's serious moments in the end were heartbreaking. And yes, I can see how for a Sallu fan, KKHH is 'all about his sacrifice' :D
Roshan R said…
Its the most vital part of Snape's character and its hidden throughout the series - by the time you realise his motivation, you're too deeply hating the guy.
His redemption comes in the end when Harry names his child after Dumbledore and him and tells him 'you were named after two of the bravest men i knew'

Love Story was so simple and yet touched all the right chords in the heart. And seriously, I stopped reading Nic Sparks because of the point you mentioned - he finds new settings for the same ending - separating the people in love ! :(
Roshan R said…
Not even Shrek for the Princess... or Donkey for the dragon ? :D
oh very modest :P
Roshan R said…
You know me... i'm full of PREMIUM modest ideas that way :p
Binu Thomas said…
Donkey for the dragon! Always donkey for the dragon doctor :P
Sumana said…
ya...So only I felt its true love..Don't you think so?
Arunima said…
In million dollar baby- what clint eastwood's character did for hillary swank's, his Mo Chuisle (Irish) for "my darling, and my blood" (literally, "my pulse")... tht's love.
Roshan R said…
we have a winner !!! :) beating SNape to first place - the interspecies, looks, size and fiery breath dont matter love of donkey n dragon :D
Roshan R said…
I know.. that is the heights of love and sacrifice.
Roshan R said…
now theres a good example everyones missed till now..
sharmila said…
Ghost with the song -'Oh...I.. hunger for your touch'is an all time favorite.Notebook,Jerry Maguire ,Saathiya,Aradhana and Jab we met are few others I can watch again and again.
Roshan R said…
the song was 'unchained melody'... lovely number.
Jerry Maguire and Love Actually are among my favourites in that genre..
Anonymous said…
cleopatra
BluBluBling said…
I can't even begin to explain how much more i like you after this post.

BluBluBling said…
And my favorite love story would be " Where Rainbows End" A book I keep going back to over and over again :)

And in movies it would be Devdas <3
Roshan R said…
'When Rainbows end' ? I really have no idea... I will have to search this one out ..
Roshan R said…
Sigh... if I had a dollar for every time a girl told me that... well, I'd have one dollar now finally !!!

And thanks.. you made me blush.. I needed that too :D
Although this may not be a depiction of the love you speak here but, for me it has always been Mel Gibson's love in the movie "The Patriot". The name of the movie is quite misleading. For me the movie was never about a man's love for his country but for his family and the children he lost. This one always brought me to tears.
Oh, but it is a true depiction of love for a fellow being. Sigh... Hollywood really lost a class actor when they boycotted him. Was watching some of the earlier Lethal Weapon movies... you never get bored with him and Danny Glover.
Richa Singh said…
Very recently I was sitting with a few friends and we were all discussing our favourite characters and snape turned out to be a popular choice. Of course the impact of those five minutes in which he conveys his memories out did all the bad things he was attributed to for 6 and a half books.

Roshan in my opinion also snape's love story is quite something...

Richa
It moved me a lot because it was there in plain sight but we never noticed it. We were too busy hating the guy... it just seemed like such a huge sacrifice in the end in the name of love.
Shiva said…
Wow... I cant believe you stole my idea.. I was about to start writing a post on harry Potter ..and after deep thinking..one aspect I reto write about was Snape,,, People generally dun believe but the fact is that somehow I could never make myself hate Snape... Earlier it was more coz i truested Dumbledore and felt he could not be wrong with a person..if he supports him, there has to be a reason.. and Snape is such a real character..full of emotions love jealousy hatred and comitment...love him!!!
Absolutely right. Its a very complex character. In the end, he is the one who truly chooses the most difficult path in the story for the most noblest of reasons.. selfless love.
Meety said…
Bulls eye... Ever since the last book/movie.. I used to feel so bad about having hated our good old Professor Snape; All those times I loathed him only to know in the end that there couldn't be a purer soul in the Harry Potter series (p)
Like many others, I suspected there was more to Snape during the earlier books. But that more or else evaporated by the time Voldemort arrived and it 'became clear' he was in cahoots with him. Him killing Dumbledore pretty much blacklisted him for sure, in my books.

From there, the reversal in his final moments was stunning. When I think of it, his intentions were much more pure than even Dumbledore, were they not? This was selfless love at its best.
Ankita Singhal said…
Oh how I got goosebumps after reading your post. For me, Always was never the same after Snape's always. Mr. Darcy is my hero, just the kind of a man I like. Then there is Jay Gatsby, oh how he sought to woo Daisy.
Jericho Barrons is the also there from fever series. Peeta Mallark from Hunger games. Tobias from Divergent.
It's really hard to name one character. Impossible is the work I am looking for.