Monday, 16 March 2009


Radical Hindus have opposed and interfered with the erection of a statue of comedic actor Charlie Chaplin in the Udupi district of India on the grounds that he was a Christian.
According to reports, the 67-foot statue is being built for the filming a movie called “House Full,” and the foundation stone for the statue had already been laid in the presence of the film director Hemanth Hegade.
“The very next day [after laying the stone], a group of youth had opposed the construction of the statue citing silly reasons,” Hegade said, as reported by Expressbuzz.
According to the film director, around 10 to 20 activists of the Hindu Jagarna Vedike had come in three vehicles and stopped the construction.
"They said Charlie Chaplin was a Christian and said they would allow construction of the statue on condition that it would be demolished after the shooting. When art director [Chethan] Mundadi said Charlie Chaplin was a great artiste, they said they suspected that we would also build a statue of Jesus Christ," reported Hegade.
“They also said they could not go to the nearby Someshwara Temple seeing the face of a Christian,” the film director added.
In his account of the incident, art director Mundadi said, “We had dug a eight by eight feet pit. They threw the construction materials and forced our workers to fill up the pit."
Though Hegade said he and his team held talks with local government leaders and other social leaders and decided to continue the construction work, the director said they are considering moving out of the area and finding a different place to build the statue. He also said that he was planning on organizing a protest as a result of the opposition.
“What has happened to Udupi district? Is it Taliban land?" he asked, incorrectly referring to the Islamic terrorist movement.
Although Chaplin was formally baptized into the Church of England, some claimed he was Jewish or of Jewish ancestry. He is best known for his work as an academy award winning film actor and director, remembered for comedy films such as “Modern Times” and “The Great Dictator.” He lived from 1889 to 1977.