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02_PATOL BABU class 10

 

 

Summary

  • PatolBabu, Film Star is the story of a former versatile theatre artist who has to struggle for a living doing various odd jobs.
  • He has all the qualities of a film star but is not destined to be one.
  • Sitalakanto Ray, better known as Patol Babu, is a 52-year-old, short and bald-headed man who lives in Calcutta with his wife.
  • Patol Babu had lost his clerical post with Hudson and Kimberley in Calcutta due to the cost-cutting measures during the war more than ten years ago.
  • Since then, he had tried a number of different jobs, from running a store, to becoming an insurance salesman.
  • However, he was not able to settle into any of these endeavours and was in great need of money.
  • One fine day, his neighbour, Nishikanto Ghosh, calls on him and tells him that he has recommended his name for a small role in a film because his appearance matched with that of the character – an absent – minded, short – tempered pedestrian in his fifties.
  • Nishikanto Babu introduced Patol Babu to Naresh Dutt.
  • Naresh was part of the Production department of a new movie and asked Patol Babu to do a small role in the movie.
  • This offer made Patol Babu recall his younger days, when he had a settled job at Kanchrapara.
  • In those days, he was a regular actor in Jatras, amateur theatricals and plays put up by the club in his neighbourhood.
  • His talent was appreciated and his name often appeared on the handbills advertising the performances.
  • In fact, people often watched his plays just for his performance.
  • When Patol Babu reached the scene of the shooting outside Faraday House, he observed all the activity on the sets, but was anxious about his role and wanted to know what his lines would be.
  • When Naresh Dutt told him that he had to walk to a certain point, bump into the hero Chanchal Kumar and say a single word, “Oh,” PatolBabu was initially disappointed.
  • But he recalled his mentor Mr. Pakrashi telling him that it was not the size of the role, but what you give to it that matters. So he started practicing various ways of saying the word, trying to mix sixty parts of irritation with forty of surprise.
  • When the time came for the shot, he suggested that he should hold a newspaper, which the director agreed to. He was also given a moustache for the role.
  • Finally, he performed a most impressive shot which did not require any retakes. However, while waiting for Naresh Dutt to pay him for his role, Patol Babu realised that the creative satisfaction that he had got from this small performance was far more important than the money that he would have earned. He quietly went away from there.

 

Questions & Answers

 

Q.1    Why had Nishikanto Babu given Patol Babu’s address to his youngest brother-in-          law?

Ans.   Nishikanto Babu’s youngest brother-in-law was in the film industry and he was looking for an actor for a film they were shooting. He had described the character to Nishikanto Babu who had felt that Patol Babu was just right for the role. So he had given him Patol Babu’s address.

 

Q.2    Who was Naresh Dutt?

Ans.   Naresh Dutt worked in the film business.Hewas the youngest brother-in-law of Nishikanto Ghosh, who was Patol Babu’s neighbour.

 

Q.3    What instructions does Naresh Dutt give Patol Babu on their first meeting?

Ans.   Naresh Dutt told him to report for shooting the next morning at 8:30 a.m. He also told him that the shooting would take place out of doors, outside the front entrance of a seven-storey office building called Faraday House.

 

Q.4    How did Patol Babu change his mind about his role?

 

OR

 

How does Patol Babu overcome his negative feelings about his role?

Ans.   Patol Babu was reminded of the advice given to him by his mentor Gogon Pakrashi who had told him never to consider any role below his dignity and to give it his best, whateverthe length of his role might be. He had also said that each word spoken in a play was like a fruit in a tree. Not everyone in the audience could access it but it is up to the actor to know how to deliver the essence of those lines to his audience.

 

Q.5    Why does Sosanko call Patol Babu lucky?

Ans.   Patol Babu was disappointed on receiving a one-word dialogue when Sosanko explains that he was lucky to have something to say because there had been more than a hundred people who had appeared in the film and yet had nothing to say. Even the hero had no words to say on that day.

 

Q.6    Why did Baren Mullick not want to rehearse the scene with Patol Babu?

Ans.   Probably because it was not a very important or difficult a scene and most importantly because there was a cloud approaching the sun and he wanted to shoot the scene in sunlight.

 

Q.7    Describe the character of Patol Babu.

Ans.   Patol Babuwas very punctual and was always on time at work. He was unassuming and modest and was very thrilled at learning of the opportunity in acting. He had been a talented actor in the past and people had bought tickets to see him act. He is also practical and decides to make the most of a tiny film role and practises hard. He is diligent and hard working. He is a creative person and does not wait to be paid because of the creative satisfaction that he derived from enacting the small scene.

 

Q.8    What is the theme of the story?

Ans.   The values that are revealed in this story is Patol Babu’s passion towards the art of acting. For him the pride and satisfaction of a good performance is enough. He had acted for his passion not for money.

At one time Patol Babu had acted in the Jatras and was a favourite with the public. He hankered after a career in films. One day, however, an opportunity to act in a film does come Patol Babu’s way. The role that he is offered is of an ‘angry pedestrian’ who runs into the hurrying lead actor on a busy road and exclaims ‘Oh!’ At first he is rather disappointed, but then he remembers the advice of his mentor that no role, no dialogue is too small for a real actor, and one must perform the role whole-heartedly and to the best of his ability. He rehearses the word ‘oh ‘ with different inflections to show pain, sorrow, joy, surprise, agony, etc. and plays his part to his satisfaction. Having performed his role he feels pride in his performance and comes home, a contented man, even without bothering to wait for his payment.

 

Q.9    How did Patol Babu react on being offered a role in a film?

Ans.   On hearing the unexpected news of being offered a role in a film, Patol Babu was truly excited and confused. He immediately said ‘yes’ to the proposal and wished to talk to Nishikanto Ghosh’s brother-in-law for more details. And in this excitement and confusion, he mixed up his wife’s shopping list while buying provisions at the market.

 

Q.10  How did Patol Babu’s life change in 1934? Was it a welcome change? Why? Why not?

Ans.   In1934 Patol Babu took an important decision in his life. He quit his railway factory job in Kanchrapara to work as a clerk in Hudson and Kimberley at a higher salary.

Yes, it was a welcome change initially because he not only got higher salary but was also lucky to find a flat. What is more he was in the good books of his boss. However, after the initial smooth sailing for nine years his career ran into rough weather thanks to the World War II and he lost his job in a retrenchment. He had to struggle for a living ever after.

 

Q.11  Why had Patol Babu lost his first job in Calcutta?

Ans.   Patol Babu used to work as clerk with Hudson and Kimberley inCalcutta. The war forced the company to retrench some of its staff in the Calcutta office. Unfortunately, Patol Babu became a victim to this retrenchment and lost his nine-year-old job.

 

Q.12  Briefly describe Patol Babu’s struggle for a living after his retrenchment from Hudson and Kimberley.

Ans.   After his retrenchment from Hudson and Kimberley in 1934 Patol Babu had to struggle to make a living. First, he opened up a variety store which he had to wind up after five years. Then he took up a job in a Bengali firm which he had to give up in disgust because he felt his boss had treated him in too high handed a fashion. For the next ten years he sold insurance. Thus, he tried every means of earning a livelihood without even succeeding in bettering his lot. Just before he got a chance to act in a film, he was toying with the idea of taking up a job withsmall time scrap act iron dealer.

 

Q.13  Briefly describe the situation of the shot in which Patol Babu has to act.

Ans.   Inthe shot that Patol Babu has to act in, the hero, Chanchal Kumar is a rising young executive. He rushes to his office on hearing the news of embezzlement there and in his extreme hurry and preoccupation, he collides with an absent-minded pedestrian on the pavement. On collision, Patol Babu, who plays the role of absent-minded pedestrian in his fifties, cries ‘Oh!’ in excruciating pain. The hero ignores the man and makes way to his office.

 

Q.14  “Counting your chickens again before they’re hatched, are you?” Who makes this comment and why?

Ans.   Patol Babu’s wife makes this comment to her husband when he goes overboard in praising himself as an actor and brags that the film role will mark his rise to fame and fortune. This remark cuts Patol Babu to his size. She knows that he could not succeed in life mainly because he was making castles in the air and used to boast of himself a lot.

 

Q.15  Why was Patol Babu particular about finding out the name of the hero and the director of the film he wasacting in?

Ans.   Patol Babu did not know much about films and film making. He enquired about the name of the hero and the director of the film he was acting in lest he cut a sorry figure in front of his wife, should she ask him the question. He did not want to make a fool of himself by being so ignorant as not to know whose film hehas acted.

 

Q.16  How does Patol Babu reconcile to the dialogue given to him?

Ans.   Truly dejected to learn that he had just one word ‘Oh! to speak in his part, Patol Babu, for a while, felt that the film unit had taken him for a ride. However, he reconciled himself to the dialogue by recalling how his mentor Gogon Pakrashi used to advise him never to consider it beneath his dignity to accept however small a part. Moreover he woke up to the immense acting possibilities in the monosyllabic exclamation and reconciled to it.

 

Q.17  Briefly explain the significance of Gogon Pakrashi’s analogy of a fruit in a tree.

Ans.   Speaking to Patol Babu one day, his mentor and guru Gogon Pakrashi had likened the words spoken in a play to a fruit in a tree, whose taste the audience did not know. He had said that it was the duty of the actor to pluck that fruit of meaning, get at its essence and serve it up to the audience for their edification. This analogy goes a long way in Patol Babu’s understanding of the various shades of the meaning of the monosyllable ‘Oh!’ and the planning and execution of his role.

 

Q.18  Who was Mr. Pakrashi? How do his words help Patol Babu in enacting his role?

Ans.   Mr Gogon Pakrashi was Patol Babu’s mentor or guru. He was one in a million actor and a saintly person without a tract of vanity. Patol Babu had great reverence for him. He would often advise Patol in his deep mellow voice that no part was beneath an actor’s dignity to accept and that an actor should make most of the opportunity and do full justice to the role. He would also advise him to get at the essence of every role and serve it up to the audience for their edification. These words of wisdom from his guru helped Patol Babu in enacting his role which required him to say just one word ‘Oh!’. He thoroughly rehearsed it, carefully planned itand even improvised it like a true actor.

 

Q.19  How do we know that Patol Babu was a meticulous man?

Ans.   Patol Babu was a meticulous man, as every actor should be. Right from the beginning, he was curious to know his dialogue not necessarily to find out how long it was but to be able to rehearse it and rehearse he does, not just once but over and over again. He uttered the word ‘Oh!’ in as many different ways as he could to bring out as many meanings as possible. He carefully planned how his features would be twisted in pain as a result of his collision with Chanchal Kumar and how much pain, surprise and irritation they will have. Hecarefully calculated the speed with which he and Chanchal Kumar would be walking, where the collision would take place and how many steps he would have to walk in his role. Finally, he decided to improvise his role by pretending to be lost in reading a newspaper to give the role a natural look. All these examples go on to prove how meticulous an actor Patol Babu was.

 

Q.20  What were the special touches that Patol Babu gave to his role to make it more authentic?

Ans.   Being a meticulous actor who had penchant for detail, Patol Babu made his small little role a very special one by adding some special touches of his own to it. First, he decided to be lost in reading a newspaper to bring out the character’s absent-mindedness. Then he carefully planned how he would walk to the point of collision and bring out the emotions of irritation, anguish and pain on impact.

 

Q.21  Baren Mullick was a much acclaimed film director. What evidence do you get in the story to support this view?

Ans.   Truly, Baren Mullick appears to be quite an acclaimed film director as is evident at more than one place in the story. First, to get a part in his film was considered to be an honour by most of the actors. Second, he had many hits to his credit, three ofthem in a row, as Patol Babu discovers from a bystander at the shooting location. Even Chanchal Kumar, the upcoming hero,calls Baren  ‘Sir’ out of respect for the man’s directorial acumen.

 

Q.22  Cite two instances of humour in the story “Patol Babu, Film Star”.

Ans.   Gentle humour is strewn here and there in the story “Patol Babu, Film Star”. Two prominent instances of it are: One, when Patol Babu expresses his apprehension that his moustache might come off at the time of collision with Chanchal Kumar, the make-up man assures him that it would not even if he were to wrestle with Dara Singh. Another example of humour in thestory is when Patol Babu quite boisterously brags to his wife about his imminent fame and fortune after the role.Shecuts him to his size by remarking, ‘Counting your chickens again before they are hatched, are you? No wonder you could never make a go of it.

 

Q.23  How did Patol Babu cry ‘Oh!’ in the shot?

Ans.   As soon as Chanchal Kumar’s head banged against Patol Babu’s forehead, the old man cried ‘Oh!’ to express a sense of excruciating pain. His cry had a mix of fifty parts of anguish and twenty-five parts each of surprise and irritation. This cry was complemented by his facial expression, too.

 

Q.24  “It is not the magnitude of the work, but the way it is performed that makes it significant or insignificant”. Discuss in the light of the story “Patol Babu, Film Star”.

Ans.   How big or small a piece of work is determined not by the magnitude of the work but with the dedication, diligence and sincerity with which it is done. Forexample, the monosyllabic dialogue given to Patol Babu. It is a small and insignificant role but it proves to be a litmus test for his acting skills. While practising his dialogue, Patol Babu realised the immense potentiality of this apparently meaningless exclamation. The different nuances of meaning that its delivery could bring out fascinated him. Hence, when he performed his part and uttered the word with fifty percent anguish, twenty five percent surprise and twenty five percent irritation, he transformed an otherwise insignificant role into a very important part of the narrative. Not only he himself but the director and the hero were also very happy with his performance.

Thus, the greatness of a piece of work is directly proportionate to the sincerity, dedication and hard work with which it is carried out.

 

Q.25  Despite being short of money and facing an acute struggle to make a living, Patol Babu left the scene immediately after his performance without waiting to be paid for it. What light does the incident throw on his character?

Or

Why does Patol Babu walk away before he could be paid for his role? What does this reveal about his character?

Ans.   After Patol Babu’s retrenchment from Hudson and Kimberley, life had not been very kind to him. In fact it was a perpetual struggle to earn a livelihood. He was still looking for a suitable job when he was offered a small role in Baren Mullick’s film. The offer did arouse in him a faint hope of gaining ‘fame and fortune’ but it was not money that prompted him to accept the offer. It was the opportunity itself that excited him more. The memory of those good old days when he was a prominent stage artist flashed on the screen to his mind. He made sure that they had offered him a speaking part. However, when he was given his ‘dialogue’, he was disappointed. But soon he put himself together and tried his utmost to give his best. Once the shot was over, a feeling of total satisfaction swept over him. He was told to stay back for his remuneration but when he measured the paltry sum that he was to receive against the intense satisfaction of a small job done with perfection and dedication, he left the shooting spot without waiting for the payment. His passion for acting outweighed the excitement that the much needed money could give him. The incident reveals Patol Babu’s genuine love for art for which he could sacrifice all he had.

 

 

WORKSHEET

 

  1. I) Answer the following questions in a sentence or two each:
  2. How did Sosanko convince Patol Babu about the dialogue given to him?
  3. Describe the scene Patol has to play in the film.
  4. Which incidents prove that Patol was a man of imagination?
  5. How did Patol react to the lines given to him?
  6. Why did he leave the shooting spot without taking the money?
  7. How does he rate the people in the filmdom?
  8. What did Nishikanto Ghosh tell PatolBabu one morning?
  9. Describe the past of Patol Babu as an actor.
  10. What did Patol Babu do for a living after having been retrenched?
  11. How did Patol Babu disclose his pleasure for the film role before hiswife?
  12. What did Patol Babu think of Chanchal Kumar after his shoot?
  13. What did Jyoti tell Patol Babu about his role before it was to be shot?
  14. What did Patol Babu do with the paper on which his dialogue was written?
  15. What did he hear standing near the paan shop and how he reacted to it?
  16. What had Patol Babu‘s mentor Gogon Pakrashi told him about the actor as an artist?
  17. How was Patol Babu emboldened by his mentor Gogon Pakrashi‘s advice ?
  18. What did Patol Babu suggest Baren Mullick to add authenticity to his role when histurn for shoot came? What happened thereafter?
  19. What did Patol Babu feel after the shoot? Why did he go without taking anymoney?

 

  1. II) Long answer type questions:
  2. Why did Nishikanto Gosh call on Patol Babu one morning? How did PatolBabu react after hearing him? What kind of a stage actor had PatolBabu been earlier?
  3. What happened when Patol Babu went to Faraday House for shooting after he had met Naresh Dutt? How did he feel after having been given his one-worded dialogue?
  4. How did Patol Babu give an emotional touch to his dialogue of Oh!?
  5. Imagine Patol Babu writes a diary page about important events. He writes a diary page describing this event. Write a diary page on his behalf about this event in150 words.

 

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