Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977), an English comic actor, better known as Charlie Chaplin, is the greatest comedian that the cine world has ever produced. Charlie Chaplin, the Tramp, is depicted as passing through several rough and tough patches. There are times when he is treated shabbily, duped, jilted, punished and defeated. During such cataclysmic moments, his facial expression – replete with irony, pathos and genuine sorrow – touches the core your heart. Ruchira pays tribute to the comedian, whose birth anniversary was a few days ago, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977), an English comic actor, better known as Charlie Chaplin, is the greatest comedian that the Cineworld has ever produced. During the era of silent films spanning the late 1800s-early 1900 years, he strode the Hollywood silver screen like a colossus. No wonder that forty-one years after his death and a century and three decades after his birth, filmmakers, connoisseurs as well as discerning viewers, worldwide, still adore him and his creations, while he remains ensconced on the lofty pedestal where he was placed many decades ago.
Chaplin’s personal life was anything but comical. Born amidst poverty and penury, he had to grapple with a broken home, an insane mother, and a lascivious father. Poverty dogged him for years. He discovered the seamier sides of human life. Fortunately, however, instead of crippling him or sending him into depression, his sorrow, suffering, trials, and tribulations taught young Charles certain vital lessons of life: To smile through his tears and to surmount the greatest obstacles with resilience. And that is what Chaplin did for the rest of his life: made human beings laugh; laugh whole-heartedly and unconditionally.
Chaplin’s masterstroke of artistic craft is the creation and portrayal of the Tramp.
The wiry fellow sports a toothbrush moustache, wears a pair of baggy trousers, a short, ill-fitting coat, and oversized boots, complete with a walking stick and a hat. This larger-than-life character is Chaplin’s alter-ego, his soulmate, the protagonist of the bulk of his short films made in the early phase of his career.
This iconic character is sprightly, energetic, active, polite all rolled into one. He is gallant towards the fair sex, yet on other occasions, he is gross, crude, bordering on vulgarity. However, all his antics, gestures and postures are so intensely humane that even the most prude individuals are bound to laugh them away, without feeling offended in the least.
Like his creator, the Tramp too is depicted as passing through several rough (and tough) patches; there are times when he is treated shabbily, duped, jilted, punished and defeated. During such cataclysmic moments, his facial expression – replete with irony, pathos and genuine sorrow – touches the core your heart! Nevertheless, this cloudy spell is short-lived and the Tramp bounces back to his usual self – full of bonhomie and joie-de-vivre. Though he is poor, yet he attempts to project himself as a gentleman, as best as he can.
All in all, the Tramp is a symbolic character: a commoner, the man-on-the-street; he is also the underdog, underfed, impoverished, and devoid of a luxurious life. He is one of us. So much so that we laugh with him, laugh at his foolishness, and weep when he weeps. In spite of all odds, the little clumsy fellow, the Tramp is infused with an indomitable spirit, level-headedness, and good humour.
He merrily walks down the road of life, taking everything in his stride. And above all, he dares to dream – the dream of a glorious future when everything would turn out well.
©Ruchira Adhikari Ghosh
Photos from the internet
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Born in Guwahati Assam, Ruchira grew up in Delhi and Punjab. A product of Sacred Heart Convent, Ludhiana, she holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh. Armed with a P.G diploma in journalism in Journalism, she has been a pen-pusher for nearly 25 years. Her chequered career encompasses print, web, as well as television. She has metamorphosed as a feature writer, her forte being women’s issues, food, travel and literature.