India's Chaplin-Loving Town

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Old 21-Apr-2010
India's Chaplin-Loving Town

India's Chaplin-Loving Town

The Chaplin fan club in Adipur has more than 200 members (Photos: Sanjoy Ghosh)

A small town in the western Indian state of Gujarat is an unlikely haven for Charlie Chaplin impersonators. The BBC's Soutik Biswas travelled to the town of Adipur to find out why.
In the rising heat of a flaming Indian summer, more than 100 people have gathered in a small town in Gujarat to celebrate Charlie Chaplin's birthday.
There are girls and boys, men and women. They are young and old, fit and feeble. They have all trooped out into the streets of Adipur dressed up like the legendary actor's tramp - toothbrush moustache, bowler hat, scruffy black suit, cane.
What binds them is a love of Chaplin's cinema - most are members of the Charlie Circle, a local fan club which has been celebrating the actor's birthday every April since 1973.

Ashok Aswani launced the club after watching Chaplin films

I thought, is Chaplin an actor or a magician? I fell off my seat laughing in the darkness

Club founder Ashok Aswani, (He also resembles Oliver Hardy, of the Laurel and Hardy Duo)

The Chaplin fan club in Adipur has more than 200 members (Photos: Sanjoy Ghosh)

Out on the streets, a colourful party fuses Chaplin mania with Indian song and dance.

Scores of impersonators imitate the tramp's bow-legged dance walk and waddle with mixed results. Then they begin jumping up and down to Bollywood songs sung by a portly local singer and pumped out from crackling speakers strung on top of a rickety mobile music cart.

The procession is a major festival in the town

In the middle girls togged out in colourful local costumes swirl around doing the garba, a popular local dance.

A couple of camel-drawn carts bring up the rear. One is packed with toddler Chaplin impersonators. In the other, a small statue and a big poster of the actor are "worshipped" , complete with a chanting Hindu priest and burning joss sticks. (Incense)

The Chaplin fan club opened in 1973

"The tramp is dead, long live the tramp," cries Kishore Bhawsar, a 52-year-old bus conductor and fan club member who has composed a paean to his favourite actor.

Mr Bhawsar says his life changed after watching The Gold Rush, the 1925 comic gem featuring Chaplin chasing fortunes in the icy wilderness of Alaska.

"Chaplin absorbs grief and makes you laugh. He said, 'I walk in the rain to hide my tears.' He was a poet," Mr Bhawsar shouts above the din.

The gathering roars in approval, as the procession snakes through the town while bystanders gape and traffic comes to a halt.

As dusk settles over the town, festivities move to a crummy hall where locals perform mimes, skits and watch a Chaplin film on the big screen.

"It's a day we wait for every year. It's our biggest festival in many senses," says Arjunji Bhimji Fariya, a 70-something Morgan Freeman lookalike and retired bus driver.

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Old 21-Apr-2010
Re: India's Chaplin-Loving Town


Old 21-Apr-2010
Und3rgr0und J4tt1
Re: India's Chaplin-Loving Town

seems funny

Old 21-Apr-2010
Re: India's Chaplin-Loving Town

wow .. awesome ..

Old 21-Apr-2010
Re: India's Chaplin-Loving Town


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