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The International Tramp


We’ve always held Charlie Chaplin in high esteem—if only as an early aficionado of the bowler hat—so we were surprised to find the tramp as the subject of some belated controversy in India.

Chaplin’s already the subject of twelve different statues throughout the world, but when Indian filmmaker Hemanth Hegde tried to erect a thirteenth statue at Maravanthe Beach for an upcoming film, he provoked furious protests from crowds that saw the tramp as a symbol of the colonial legacy of oppression.

In our capacity as international moderators, we have a suggestion.

They probably haven’t noticed in Bangalore, but the West doesn’t have much use for Chaplin these days. As hipper, more culturally allusive comedy comes to the fore in the U.S. and the U.K., balletic physical comedy is going the way of the ascot. It’s about time a more physically capable film industry (ahem) stepped up and took hold of the tramp’s legacy.

In other words, make the movie.