Dr. Ashok Aswani founded Adipur’s Charlie Circle in 1973. Each year, they celebrate Chaplin’s April 16th birthday with a cake and screening of one of his films. As a young man, Doctor Aswani trained as a mime. However, injuries from a motorbike accident meant that he was unable to pursue a career as a professional performer and he now has a practice as an Ayurvedic doctor, playing Chaplin on special occasions such as ‘Charlie Day.’
“Whenever I dress like Charlie, I behave like Charlie. There is a strange magic and intoxication in Charlie’s moustache and his dress.”
“Charlie himself was crying, but he made other people laugh. My story is the same. There is a lot of sadness. But to bring a smile to someone’s face, to bring joy - that is very difficult. Not everyone can do it. This is a very big thing. He wore the clothes of a tramp, and made people laugh.”
“Our God Krishna, whom we call Lord Krishna in Hindu religion, what did He do? He made people happy! After all it is God’s job to keep people happy. But Charlie gave people joy by acting. That’s why I pray to him: He’s my God!”
Prevan grew up in a small village outside Mumbai and moved to the city as a young adult. He began imitating Chaplin after seeing The Tramp on TV as a child and falling in love with the character. Upon completion of an Honours degree in English literature, he started performing and teaching. He now plays Charlie for community theatres, schools, social issue campaigns, parties and celebrations.
"I first saw Chaplin on the television…there were no TVs in our village, but I used to come to my uncle’s place in the city. There I saw Chaplin on the television. And I was inspired by him – his movements, his acting, his innocence. I was totally haunted by that character. And I liked imitating him. Even my mother told me – ‘you’re looking like him’. I know so many things in life through his films, his philosophy and his performances."
"Chaplin is known by his walk. It is like a penguin walk. It is a breaking style. He runs and twists. These are the small things I tried to practice, to imitate."back to top
Visawjeet grew up outside Calcutta. His father and only brother died when he was three, leaving his mother to support herself and Viswajeet by working in a clothing factory. Visawjeet first saw Chaplin on his landlord’s television and began imitating him. He feels there are many similarities between their lives. After performing Charlie on the streets and in hotel lobbies to entertain their guests, he moved to Mumbai. Viswajeet’s dream is to work as an actor in Bollywood.
"The idea of the white cream came to me - bBecause when I used to watch the movies, Charlie Chaplin’s the skin was black and white. So I thought that if I use white cream, Then it will look more natural, like the original. "
"The first time I saw Charlie Chaplin, I was around 6 years old. At that time my mother didn’t have enough money to buy a television. I used to hide and watch the TV at my landlord’s house. He used to say: “Don’t come here to watch TV!” The show to come early on Sunday morning, around 8:00 am. I used to hide and watch, hanging from the window. To see something - even a little. Just a glimpse of Charlie."" "
"Some times I feel that Charlie Chaplin is inside me. We have had the same life- the same struggle. Struggle to live, struggle to eat, Struggle to walk, struggle to take the train."
Ern Vockler is one of the historical Chaplin imitators featured in The Boot Cake. Vockler, born in 1898, began his Chaplin imitation act performing on Sydney’s variety and vaudeville show circuit. In 1915, he appeared in a Charlie Chaplin Contest run by Sydney’s Princess Theatre to promote screenings of Chaplin’s films. According to a local newspaper, Vockler did his Chaplin stunt outside Waddington’s Grand Theatre in Pitt Street for more than ten months before shooting Charlie at The Sydney Show. The film, shot on location guerrilla filmmaking style, purported to show Chaplin enjoying himself in Sydney.back to top