Saturday, September 02, 2006

Birth of Comedy


I read something wonderful in the epilogue by Labhshankar Thaker in the Gujarati translation of Charlie Chaplin's autobiography. Here are some excerpts and finally my take.


Sergei Mikhalovich Eisenstein wrote an article about Charlie Chaplin in 1946, in Sight and Sound, titled “Charlie the Kid”. He explores Chaplin’s process of perceiving the world. Well, I found a very good note about the root of smile that Chaplin generated and spread across the world.

Eisenstein describes a scene from Andre Marlaux’s novel The Condition of Human Existence. The author takes us into a poor Chinese household. The husband apparently looks drunk. He is laid down on the bed. His wife is slapping him with both his hands. Probably to wake him up. And their kids, are sitting on the floor. They are looking at the lady slapping heavily the drunk husband and they are laughing like crazy. They are completely uncontrollable and the sight of their mother, hitting the father is making them even more berserk. The image of slaps and the father’s head swinging from one side to the other is creating this frenzy.

However, the reality is that the father is not drunk. He is dead. Yes, he is dead and his wife is beating up the dead body because he left his wife and kids hungry and close to death. Small hands of the skinny wife, and the big head of the dead father and it’s swinging due to beating up; all this created laughter.

Eisenstein compares those laughing kids with Chaplin. It was pain coupled with innocent observation.

Chaplin was the mother of laughter. Laughter, which was born in the womb of pain!!

4 comments:

Rishit Jain said...

:) The last sentence was beautiful. Laughter indeed is born in sorrows. The heaven would be a boring place to be in.

Nirwa said...

I am not able to comment since long.. I hope it works this time..

You seem to be greatly impressed or deeply moved by Charlie Chaplin. You have mentioned htis to on more htan one occassion.. Hmm.. must try to read this one!

Also, wanted to inform you, Bakul Tripathi has passed away. Looks like an ena of great Gujarati literature is coming to end!

Kandarp said...

@ Rishit - thanks for your comment. M not worried about heaven. Have lost my candidature for that long back :)

@ Nirwa - That's such sad news. I just checked Gujarat Samachar website. Of course, an era has come to an end. Ishwar temna pavitra atma ne shanti aape.

Nipun said...

Good Work buddy! You never stop surprising me! I too liked the last sentence!