Peshawar’s Charlie Chaplin Brings Smiles in Trying Times

Usman Khan, in a bowtie, bowler hat and carrying a cane flamboyantly weaves through Pehsawar's traffic vows to bring smiles in the face of such trying times

Reenacting the scenes reminiscent of a 1920s silent film, Usman Khan, 28, drifts through the bust traffic of Peshawar in a bowtie, bowler hat and carrying a cane flamboyantly weaves. The Pakistani Charlie Chaplin used to sell children’s toys from a sidewalk stand but during the Covid-19 pandemic, he has transformed himself into Charlie Chaplin.

When questioned about this passion, Usman Khan stated: “When the coronavirus was around, a lot of people were in real stress, some people gave up on life, I was watching Charlie’s videos and thought, ‘Let me act like Charlie.’”

Usman Khan channels his inner Charlie Chaplin as he takes to the streets in a mimicked attire of the silent comedian with a fake moustache and a little eyeliner. He is often accompanied by friends filming him on the streets in hopes to bring a bit of cheer in such trying times.

“Making people smile with silent comedy, winning people’s hearts with silent comedy is a difficult task,” Usman Khan said.

In just two months, the Pakistani Charlie Chaplin has gained more than 800,000 followers on the social media platform Tik Tok. People, he says, from around the globe find his comedy a getaway from the pandemic and its lockdowns and social-distancing.

Usman Khan hopes film and television producers will notice him as well. He has vowed to share his earning with the underprivileged of his society if he is to ever become famous.

This act is also a brief escape for Khan, who – like the real Charlie Chaplin before he climbed to fame in Hollywood – comes from an impoverished family. “When I leave my home, I shut the door on my own problems and look to bring happiness to others.”

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