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Charlie Chaplin - Remembering the legend on his 133th birth anniversary



“Life is short, Time is fast. No replay, No rewind. So enjoy every moment as it comes”.

-Charlie Chaplin. [16 April 1889-25 December 1977]

Today, 16 April, is the 133th birth anniversary of Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin - or just Charlie Chaplin as he is more commonly known.

Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed music for most of his films. Multitalented as he was, the English comic actor rose to fame in the era of silent film and became a worldwide icon through his screen persona in The Tramp, which became a sobriquet.

Chaplin satirised Adolf Hitler in two of his movies, The Great Dictator (1940), and Modern Times (1936), as a "grim contemplation on the automatization of the individual". Considered his most successful commercial film, the movie is lauded by critics, especially for the famous climate monologue.

"Chaplin could never really be outdated," remarks Vineet, who is an ad executive by profession. "In some form or another, he will reappear, even though he may not be a central character today, unlike earlier times," he adds.

Vineeth, observing that a number of ads too were modelled on Chaplinesque characters, says "The poor, innocent worker looking for happiness in small things of life made Charlie Chaplin a comic hero, but his was not just (plain) buffoonery, his comedy often made you cry even while you were laughing all the way."

Throughout the world, even to generations born way after Chaplin bid adieu, he is easily be identified by his trademark style of performance. Walking in a geometrical movement with a mop of hair under his Bowler’s hat, a wide grin on his face and a little mascara in his eyes, sporting a toothbrush moustache, a tight coat, baggy pants, big sized shoes and holding a curved stick in his hand - all his mannerisms have now become iconical just like the man himself.

Hariharan Subramanyam, a Tax Consultant in Hyderabad, said “I have fond memories of The Circus, which finds the Little Tramp joining a travelling circus and falling in love with a beautiful horse rider (Merna Kennedy). A tightrope sequence featuring Chaplin and several monkeys is brilliant. The film earned him a special award for writing, directing, producing and acting at the very first Oscar ceremony itself."

Phillip Joshua, a Corporate Communications professional from Hyderabad, said “The movie Kid is deeply entrenched in my memory. The great bond between the kid and his foster father played by Chaplin is memorable. The adopted son Jackie goes forth gaily to break the neighbouring windows while Chaplin follows about, as a glass repairer to the rescue. Thus they do a thriving business, in spite of the suspicious police."

Chaplin believed his first influence to be his mother, who entertained him as a child by sitting at the window and mimicking passers-by: "It was through watching her that I learned not only how to express emotions with my hands and face, but also how to observe and study people," he once said.

Chaplin was a perfectionist, and his financial independence enabled him to spend years on the development and production of a picture.

Here are five Chaplin movies for you to watch on the legend's 133th birth anniversary:

The Kid (1921)

Gold Rush (1925)

Circus (1928)

City Lights (1931)

Modern Times (1936)

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