Charlie Chaplin: Bollywood’s many avatars that paid tribute to iconic silent era actor

On the iconic performer's birth anniversary, let's take a look at Bollywood actors who have paid tribute to him

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin or Charlie Chaplin is an icon who is celebrated all over the world. He was a pioneer and an actor par excellence whose comic genius in silent movies is still talked about. He earned the love and respect of not only audience but also from the movie industry whether it is Hollywood or Bollywood.

Today, on his 129th birth anniversary his fans are celebrating his genius and his body of work in more than one ways. Chaplin was also a favourite of the filmmakers and actors of Bollywood and many paid tribute to him by copying his mannerisms in some of their films.
Let’s take a look at some such roles below:

Raj Kapoor


Raj Kapoor for the major part of his acting career held a torch to Chaplin by imitating him in many of his films. His Chaplinesque act in Shree 420 (1955) earned him the tag of Charlie Chaplin of Indian cinema.

Charlie Chaplin with Raj Kapoor and Nargis

His innocent, as well as vulnerable act mirrored Chaplin’s way of hiding pain behind a series of laughter and Kapoor, donned Chaplin’s avatar in many movies including his dream project Mera Naam Joker (1970).


Sholay is a cult movie in more ways than one. However, apart from the acting charism of Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar and Hema Malini what it is well remembered for are the hilarious dialogues and impeccable comic timing of Jagdeep and Asrani. Asrani’s act of the jailor from the English times is still remembered as one of the best he ever played. It was a take on Chaplin’s interpretation of Hitler from his film The Great Dictator (1940). Asrani’s dialogue, “Hum angrezon ke zamaane ke jailor hain! Ha haa…” has become an iconic dialogue in popular culture and on cinema history.


Sridevi exhibited her comic timing with aplomb when she took on Charlie Chaplin in Mr.India. Along with a child actor who also donned the great actor’s trademark garb she floored everyone in the casino shot from the movie. The entire scene is almost without any dialogues and Sridevi pulled a feat by making all of us laugh like Chaplin did in the silent era with her antics.  It really brought out her comic genius and stamped her place in the sun for eternity.

Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor also pulled off an amazing impression of Charlie Chaplin in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and also did a few impersonations in Barfi. Ranbir’s comic timing in the former was what the whole movie was based on and he delivered the performance quite effectively. For Barfi, he has been quoted as saying that he drew inspiration for his deaf-mute character from Charlie Chaplin, while director Anurag Basu has also maintained that the breakthrough movie was a tribute to the iconic actor.

Happy Birthday, Chaplin!