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Chaplin Celebration in Small Indian Village

April 23rd, 2010
The Chaplin fan club in Adipur

The Chaplin fan club in Adipur

As reported by the BBC, there was a celebration in India recently. A celebration in the small town in Gujarat to be precise, and those who attended were there to honour one, Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin. The Chaplin fan club in Adipur has more than 200 members and on Chaplin’s birthday (16th April) every year more than 100 people gather to celebrate the star’s birth.

Ashok Aswani launched The Chaplin fan club after watching Chaplin films. Celebrations began in April 1973 and have continued strongly ever since. “Scores of impersonators imitate the tramp’s bow-legged dance walk and waddle with mixed results,” says Soutik Biswas of the BBC.

The humour, and grief, shown by Chaplin on film has hit a chord with this small Indian town and Chaplin has gained hero status and worship with colourful celebrations and Indian song and dance in his honour. “The tramp is dead, long live the tramp,” cries Kishore Bhawsar, a 52-year-old bus conductor and fan club member who has composed a paean to his favourite actor.

Indian film, and the success of Bollywood cinema, is continually climbing and becoming more recognisable in the UK. British actor Ben Kingsley (played Gandhi in the 1982 biographical film), is soon to appear in his Bollywood debut, and the huge success of Slumdog Millionaire has shown a spotlight on Indian films and their stars. Kingsley is the latest foreign star to appear in a Bollywood movie, as the Hindi-language film industry seeks new audiences overseas and Hollywood increasingly looks for tie-ups with Indian studios.

The Australian filmmaker, Kathryn Millard, even made a documentary about the club in India. “When I set out to research a documentary about Chaplin imitators around the world, I had no idea that I would meet a very special community – perhaps Chaplin’s most devoted followers – in a small town in India,” says Ms Millard. She says whenever she shows the film; people ask her whether there is a way they could join the Charlie Circle: “I hope they may start accepting associate members from other countries!”

This story of remembrance and celebration of life in a small Indian town has clearly caught the hearts of those who witness the annual celebrations and with the release of Millard’s documentary more people will gain an insight into the Gujarat/Chaplin relationship. And that can only be a good thing.

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ITV Deliver First Live Dramatic TV Debate

April 16th, 2010

itv-news“The Eyes of Britain” were on ITV last night and there wasn’t Simon Cowell to be seen anywhere. The first TV prime ministerial debate was aired at 8.30pm and pulled in 9.4 million viewers; the historic debate was the most watched show of the day and had more viewers than the other four terrestrial channels combined at the time of its broadcast.

ITV further engaged the audience with a phone survey, with the subsequent News At Ten bulletin revealing the results of more than 1,000 viewers. There was also a mass “dial test” on Facebook (which we since learn didn’t actually work) which was due to enable UK users to rate the debates in real time and provide instant feedback on the performance of the three party leaders. This failed to work and Twitter took over as the prime social networking site with its coverage and user feedback, with around 39 tweets a second with 36,000 people tweeting.

It seems that the “great explosion of the blogosphere” did not happen. ITV’s the worm worked however, and saw panellists twiddling their nobs (ahem) to create a rigid line on the screen representing their thoughts and feelings to key responses from the party leaders. Most of the responses from the public – and that of political commentators too – were calling in favour of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg this morning.clegg_1617349c

The first of three television debates was a ‘dramatic night in TV history’ for ITV (Sky News and BBC debates will air on April 22 and 29) and see their ratings reach the levels of reality shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and major live sporting events. That doesn’t sound like a grand comparison but with these shows drawing in 10 million viewers a week, it puts the debate and ITV in a comfortable position. Alistair Stewart, who chaired and moderated the debate, called it “the pinnacle” of his career and said he had been reading up on the US presidential debates for preparation.

Interestingly, there were no adverts during the entire running of the 90-minute debate and no opening credits to introduce or glam-up the event. The entire production was rather unadorned as the three men stood on stage at the Manchester Granada studios, three coloured strips behind them representing each of the party colours. It’ll be interesting to see how Sky News and the BBC prepare the next two debates. Whether they keep to the simplistic structure of ITV, or if they ‘jazz’ things up?

POLITICS ON TV from source http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8624737.stm

Election Night – BBC One: 2.38m (5 May 2005)

Tony Blair steps down (Ten O’Clock News) – BBC One: 4.79m (27 June 2007)

President Obama: A Newsnight Special – BBC Two: 1.45m (5 November 2008)

Nick Griffin on Question Time – BBC Two: 8.35m (23 October 2009)

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: Gordon Brown – ITV1: 4.26m (14 February 2010)

Ask The Chancellors – Channel 4: 1.7m* (29 March 2010)

*Provisional overnight figure

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