This book is a Telugu translation of the English original, My Autobiography by the legendary actor, director and composer Charles (Charlie) Chaplin. The translator, Vallabhaneni Aswinikumar obviously holds Chaplin in high esteem as his observations in the prefatory note testify: “He (Chaplin) led a meaningful life. He presented before the spectators heroism in humour with an inherent blend of pathos, and endeared himself to people of the world. I am indeed delighted to get this rare opportunity of offering his venturous narrative in Telugu.” Chaplin unfolds his variegated career in minute detail with candour, transparency and honesty. The voluminous memoir contains 31 chapters. He narrates trials, turmoil and triumphs with poise. The preliminary chapters deal with his childhood in London which were fraught with indigence and privation. He describes the situation in all sobriety: “I was hardly aware of a crisis because we lived in a continual crisis; and being a boy I dismissed our troubles with gracious forgetfulness”. Speaking of his mother, Hannah, Chaplin says: “Sydney (brother) and I adored our mother. We thought her divine-looking.” The tone is disparate when he recalls his father: “The trouble was that he drank too much which mother said was the cause of their separation.” The succeeding chapters present a graphic picture of Chaplin’s odyssey through various vicissitudes like his theatre activity in England; entry into cinema field as a singer, dancer and actor; visits to America; recognition as a talented comedian in silent films and talkies; series of achievements; production and direction of master pieces; three marriages and two diverses and meeting with great people including Churchill, Gandhi, Khrushchev, Bernard Shaw, Einstein, Nehru, Chou En Lai and the like. In the last chapter, he talks about his home in Switzerland and his third wife Oona and their children. His concluding remarks speak to his modesty: “I shall end this odyssey of mine. I realise that time and circumstances have favoured me. I have been cosseted in the world’s affections, loved and hated. Yes, the world has given me its best and little of its worst.” A gifted penman, Aswinikumar proves his mettle as an efficient translator. The Telugu version retains the nuances of thought, tone and tenor, charm and tempo and sensitivities and sensibilities of the original. The language is lucid and the style is idiomatic. The book does fascinate admirers of Charlie Chaplin, who immortalise the his character with a unique costume, comprising baggy pants, tight coat, small hat, large shoes, small moustache and a stick.
Updated: March 7, 2013 20:45 IST
Funny man's story
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