Why Charlie? They are making a Chaplin out of us
Recently, a film director had to give up his plan to erect a huge statue of the Hollywood personality Charlie Chaplin at a Mangalore beach. The “Vichara-vadis” are already up against the protest of the locals who have successfully prevented the idea from going ahead.
While the local leader of the BJP has denied that the protest was because Charlie Chaplin was a Christian, the mainstream media is continuously harping on the same topic. Perhaps they have forgotten that Dakshina Kannada and Udupi have the highest density of Christians in Karnataka.
I cannot see how a statue of Charlie Chaplin is appropriate in a beach in South India! If greatness in the movie industry is a qualification, and if an individual’s obsession with a certain personality is allowed to be expressed in the form of a statue in a public place, quite soon our beaches will be filled with statues. We may soon find Marilyn Monroe’s statue in Gokarna beach, Elizabeth Taylor’s statue in Maravanthe beach, Marlon Brando in Suratkal and so on..
The secular forces are questioning the opposition to the statue. Since religion is not a factor in the decision to install the statue, what else could be possible factors that make it a right move?
- Charlie Chaplin had absolutely no connection to India, let alone Mangalore or Dakshina Kannada
- Charlie Chaplin had no (special) connection with beaches.
- Mangalore and its beaches have no special connection with movies, let alone Hollywood.
- The people of Mangalore are not known to have any special love or affinity towards Charlie Chaplin
- Beaches are not a known (nor widely accepted) location for erecting statues of personalities.
- Beaches sync more with the concept of ‘nature’ than ‘art’. An artificial construction made of cement and paint is hardly suitable for a location such as a beach.
- Charlie Chaplin has never had any noticeable impact on our society. His comedy movies are indeed funny and good to watch, but hey, Tom & Jerry are good too! Now, what if we erected a statue of…..
- A 67 ft statue of a relatively unknown personality (I bet most people of Dakshina Kannada are going to fail to recognize the man the statue represents, even if the sculptor does a very good job) is most certainly out of place in the Someshwara beach.
Respect and tribute to art and artists is certainly welcome. But appropriateness is crucial in such endeavors.
Its not the protest that worries me. Its the blind opposition to any form of protest in Karnataka that worries me. A majority of the ‘artists’ who are issuing statements condemning the protests were themselves protesting in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue on MG Road in Bangalore about a year back. Take one wild guess at the reason for their protest —- the early closing of pubs, bars and discotheques. They reserve every right, every freedom – including the freedom to protest. Not quite so for others….especially if you declare yourself to be a Hindu……and even more so if you are proud about it……
Different standards for different people, I guess!