Kolkata: It is the 126th birthday of ‘The Tramp’ or ‘The Great Dictator’ or perhaps truly the greatest showman on earth! It is he who made laughter his vehicle to heal our wounds and made us re-realise our sentiments through the most cherished lines of human emotions, “I Love walking in the rain because no one knows I’m crying”! Yes, we are talking about none other than Charlie Chaplin.
As it is his 126th birthday, let us remember him and travel his achievements through down memory lane. He was born in London, England, on April 16, 1889. His on-screen brilliance and comedic timing is often imitated but can never be replicated. His silent movies have been great successes, one of his great works being ‘The Great Dictator’. His speech in the movie called ‘A Message to Mankind’ shows what a great visionary he was. And his messages stand as some of the best parables of humanity.
Charles Spencer Chaplin’s rise to fame is a true rags-to-riches tale. His parents were also involved in the showbiz industry however his father was a raging alcoholic and his mother suffered through various mental illnesses. His mother, popularly known as Lily Harley was the one who introduced him to the stage at age 5 when she lost her voice in the middle of her performance. After that there was no stopping for Chaplin and his journey towards fame, success and immense popularity.
As ironic as it seems, the comedic legend made his acting debut as a page boy in a production of Sherlock Holmes. But thereafter all he did was act in various comedic ventures which turned out be a joyous journey of the great Charlie Chaplin we know of today. The Tramp was considered to be his first classic ever.
No matter how painful his endeavour sounds, the results made hard work all worth it. His landmark movies like ‘The Kid’, ‘The Pilgrim’, ‘A Woman in Paris’, ‘The Gold Rush’ and ‘The Circus’ were some of his works he wanted to be remembered by.
While he created magic on screen, Chaplin was also known to have a very colourful off-screen life. He had numerous affairs with the female actors in his films. He was married three times before his fourth one worked out bearing him eight children. Chaplin also goes in the pages of history as he is the only actor on whom most number of films has been made. In India even, a whole lot of stand-up comedians try to imitate his ways. In Bengali, a film is also made after his name. Rudraneel Ghosh acted in the pivotal role which was named as ‘Chaplin’.
Nevertheless, his ability to create magic never ceased to exist until the morning of December 25, 1977, when he died in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. But the legend’s death was as dramatic as his life. His body was stolen after his burial and the two involved demanded a ransom from the family. They were arrested and the body was revived after 11 weeks.
An article by Devina Sharma