María Elena Velasco (1940-2015) created her alter ego
the indian woman María in 1972 for Méxican Television and the
India María debuted in "Tonta tonta pero no tanto" and the warmhearted and a bit nutty La India Maria (or María Nicolasa Cruz)
became an enormous success and a cult figure. Velasco was a very talented comedian and many sequels followed for decades.
In the first movie Tonta tonta pero no tanto we get to see how María Nicolasa Cruz leaves her parents and her beloved burro
Philemon in the sleepy countryside village of San José de los Burros, and travelling by train to México City where she will work
as a maid for a rich woman.
All together Velasco, actress, comedian, film director, producer
etc.made 16 films as India María, and in the following films we i.a.
see her making success selling miracle inducing water (in "Pobre, pero honrada!" 1973), by mistake being appointed Mayor (in
"La Presidenta municipal" 1975), meeting vampyres and crodiles when she takes care of a millionaire dog ("El Miedo no anda en
burro," 1976) et al.
In 1978 "Duro pero seguro" she succeeds as a maker of Tacos and she's drawn into happenings at a film studio, and she's chased
by diamond smugglers in Houston, USA (OK, Mr. Pancho, 1981) and in the 1987 "Ni de aqui ... ni de alla" she's working as an illegal
guest-worker in Los Angeles and she's chased by both the FBI and by killers this time.
The India María films i have seen has been American DVD editions aimed at the big latin population, and they have not had any
english subtitles. But even though my Spanish is very basic if not non-existant i have been charmed by María and her funny antics.
Maria Elena Velasco was a brilliant comedian with great charm and like a female Chaplin she was gifted also in slapstick humour.
She also liked to sing and dance a little in her movies, and even though she's often met in a condescending way by the "white",
rich and snotty non-indian méxicans she almost always emerges as the winner from their clashes.
Ha, ha, the greatest latin comedian of them all Cantinflas (Mario Moreno 1911-1993) also often was an underdog, a poor guy
and/or a peasant, in his contacts with snotty stuck-up rich people but he fast-talked him out of situations, confused the snotty
one's and emerged the winner. He cantinfleared, bull-shitted and played with the words, just like Chinese comedian Stephen
Chow did in Hong Kong in the 1990's (especially) but could Chow somehow have been inspired by Cantinflas, who knows?
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