POST TIME: 16 April, 2020 07:15:47 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 April, 2020 07:19:44 PM
Charlie Chaplin’s 131st birth anniversary April 16
Independent Online/ Hindustan Times

Charlie Chaplin’s 131st birth anniversary April 16

Charlie Chaplin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The silent film era’s most popular names, his name is synonymous with telling the most profound stories in the simplest manner with a perfect use of comedy and humour. In a career spanning over 75 years, his achievements as an actor, filmmaker and music composer make Charlie Chaplin one of the greatest figures in film industry.

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, popularly known as Charlie Chaplin was born on April 16 in 1889.

He rose to immense stardom and became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, The Tramp. His first influence towards performing arts was his mother, who entertained him as a child by sitting at the window, mimicking passers-by.

He said: “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 also took inspiration from the work of the French comedian Max Linder, whose films he greatly admired. In developing the Tramp’s persona and costume, he drew reference from the American vaudeville scene, where tramp characters were commonly seen.

In his autobiography, Charlie Chaplin describes the process of turning into The Tramp onscreen.

He says, “I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large ... I added a small moustache, which, I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born.”

From performing live, touring music halls and later working as a stage actor and comedian, Charlie Chaplin started his career early. He was signed by the prestigious Fred Karno company, which took him to the United States of America when was 19 years old. By 1915, Chaplin became a cultural phenomenon which saw him featured in cartoons, comic strips, various Chaplin merchandise and also had songs written on him. This fame and fanfare were termed ‘Chaplinitis’ which had spread all over America.

His filmography includes feature-length films namely The Kid (1921), A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Circus (1928). Even with the advent of sound in talkies, Chaplin refused to move to sound and instead produced City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) without dialogue.

“Talkies are spoiling the oldest art in the world - the art of pantomime. They are ruining the great beauty of silence. They are defeating the meaning of the screen,” Charlie had famously said.

His political views started seeing the light of day by this time and his next film, the war comedy titled The Great Dictator (1940) was a satire on the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

From a life led by example, a majestic inspiration form for everyone from several walks of life, Charlie Chaplin was a larger-than-life artist. Millions of audience the world over might say he continues to live on in their laughter, in their hearts, in his touchingly funny immortal tramp.

On his 131st birth anniversary on Thursday, April 16, 2020, here are some of his quotable quotes for constant motivation in life especially on days you feel those peculiar, sometimes unexplained shades of blue.

1. As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is authenticity.

2. Life is a beautiful magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish.

3.  You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.

4. I suppose that’s one of the ironies of life doing the wrong thing at the right moment.

5. Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind into indifference

6. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.

7. Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.

8.  Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles.

9. Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.

10. A day without laughter is a day wasted.

11. We think too much and feel too little.