A Chennai chocolatier is crafting a life-size statue of Charlie Chaplin
Celebration always means chocolate to Srinath Balachandran – and this Christmas happens to be extra special for the chocolatier. Besides celebrating a personal milestone of 14 years in the line, Christmas day marks Charlie Chaplin’s 40th memorial year. “I am a big fan of Chaplin. In fact, I find his life off-screen to be a source of inspiration and fascination,” says Srinath and proceeds to impress me with a series of did-you-know trivia about the iconic film personality. For the curious, Srinath has kept a copy of My Autobiography handy at the café.
Having used up 180 kg of chocolate already, we are told that the final statue might take about 250 kg. Made from six different varieties of chocolates – the two main types are milk and white. The final coat will be semi-dark – for Chaplin’s suit and shoes, primarily. However, this is not Srinath’s first jab at an edible art installation of this proportion. Many might remember the much talked about life-size statue of Rajinikanth that he built out of chocolate when he launched his Puducherry-based Zuka café in Chennai less than two years ago. “It is about creating a tribute to a legend,” says the 35-year-old, adding that they have created more than half-a-dozen other figurines in the past that include a Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Kalam and the Statue of Liberty, among others.
The marked difference between his past celebratory creations and the current one of Chaplin is the special permission acquired from the Charlie Chaplin office (Bubbles Inc SA) to display the statue. “In India we take things for granted – but trademarks have to be respected,” says Srinath who is the owner of brand Zuka and Café Ole. For those who plan to chart in a selfie with this statue at your next visit to Pondy, do keep in mind that this is possibly the world’s first life-size chocolate figurine of The Tramp!
• Look out for the limited edition single origin Tanzanian Chocolate of 75 per cent intense dark cacao that will be available at Zuka (Chennai and Puducherry) from December 24 onwards.
• Known for the chocolate festival in the French Quarter, the chocolate aficionado tells us that this year he is bringing the celebration (December 28 to 31) to Chennai also.