Thursday, October 04, 2007

Marcel Marceau (1923 to 2007)

Just discovered on Aishwarya's blog that Marcel Marceau has died. He died on the 23rd of September in Paris.

Sometimes you find some people who become synonymous with their professions. They take their art to a level the art itself had been too scared to approach. They define their professions.

There are a few such examples, not many. Marcel Marceau was one such man. Pantomime isn't an art form I find terribly exciting (it's a bit limited, though a first watch is almost always fascinating). But back when I was a kid in Calcutta, mime was quite a popular evening option for many people. There were a few competent artists in Calcutta itself. The best known among them - Jogesh Dutta, a friend of my father - once brought Marceau to Calcutta for a show.

I remember the show like it happened only yesterday. The cream of Calcutta's culture scene was out at the venue: Soumitro Chattopadhyay, Utpal Dutt, Shobha Sen, Badal Sircar, et al. And what a show Monsieur Marceau put on! Obviously, we hadn't seen anything like it before, or after. It wasn't possible to compare it with anything to be able to rate it.

He's gone now. An era has passed. Fortunately or unfortunately, mime won't be the same again.