By Ruchika Gupta
CBSE Class 10 English Chapter 5 Patol Babu Filmstar Summary, Explanation
CBSE class 10 English Chapter 5 – Patol Babu, Film Star Summary detailed explanation of the story along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the Summary is followed by the explanation of the lesson . All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson, CBSE board questions have also been solved.
About the author
Born in Kolkata
An Indian filmmaker who wrote and made films in Bengali. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century. Ray directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and short films. He was also a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, calligrapher, music composer, graphic designer and film critic. He authored several short stories and novels, primarily aimed at children and adolescents. In 1992, Satyajit Ray received the honorary Academy Award – Lifetime Achievement. Ray is the first and the only Indian, yet, to receive the honour. The Academy Awards, or “Oscars”, is an annual American awards ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements in the United States.
Summary of Patol Babu Filmstar
Patol Babu Summary : The summary of the lesson Patol Babu, Film Star is given below. You can also see the explanation of the lesson after the summary
Patol Babu lived in Calcutta and worked in a company. However, due to the war he lost his nine-year-old job. Then he tried many jobs and businesses but failed. His cousin offered him to join scrap iron business.
One morning Nishikanto Ghosh visited Patol Babu and told him that his brother-in-law Naresh Dutt who worked in film business needed a short, bald-headed man around fifty years of age for his film. He suggested Patol’s name to him. Patol accepted the offer of the role of a pedestrian. Next morning, he reaches the venue, Faraday House, his heart trembling with nervousness. But the problem was that he was still not given the dialogue. He asked for his dialogue and Naresh Dutt asked his colleagues Sosanko and Jyoti to give the lines to Patol Babu. Jyoti tore off a page and wrote something and gave it to Patol Babu. The word “oh” was written on the page. Patol Babu became very sad to see that his dialogue was just the word “Oh”.
As he was sitting dejected, a faint memory stirred up in his mind. It was Mr. Pakrashi, Patol Babu’s mentor who had adviced him never to consider any role small and to put in his maximum effort to perform it to his utmost capability. He rehearsed his dialogue, and spoke the word “Oh” in different pitches and feelings. He realized that he could present the role and dialogue in many ways and was keen to perform well. Patol put in his best and performed well. He was so satisfied with his performance that he felt that taking money would undermine his efforts and so, left the place without taking money.
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Patol Babu Filmstar Explanation
Passage – Patol Babu had just hung his shopping-bag on his shoulder when Nishikanto Babu called from outside the main door, ‘Patol, are you in?’
‘Oh, yes.’ Said Patol Babu. ‘Just a minute.’
Explanation of the above passage – The writer introduces the main character of the story – Patol Babu. Patol Babu was leaving for the market, with his shopping bag on his shoulder. Just then Nishkanto Ghosh came and called out to him. Patol Babu asked him to wait for a minute.
Passage – Nishikanto Ghosh lived three houses away from Patol Babu in Nepal Bhattacharji Lane. He was a genial person.
Lane: a narrow road
Genial: friendly, warm
Explanation of the above passage – The writer tells us that Nishikanto Ghosh is Patol Babu’s neighbour. They both live three houses apart in a street called Nepal Bhattarcharji lane. Nishikanto is a friendly person.
Passage – Patol Babu came out with the bag. ‘What brings you here so early in the morning?’
‘Listen, what time will you be back?’
‘In an hour or so. Why?’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu asked the purpose of Nishikanto’s early morning visit. In reply, Nishikanto asks him that by what time he would be back home. Patol replied that he would be back in an hour’s time.
Passage – ‘I hope you’ll stay in after that – today being Tagore’s birthday. I met my youngest brother-in-law in Netaji Pharmacy yesterday. He is in the film business, in the production department. He said he was looking for an actor for a scene in a film they’re now shooting. The way he described the character – fiftyish, short, bald-headed – it reminded me of you.
So I gave him your address and asked him to get in touch with you directly. I hope you won’t turn him away. They’ll pay you, of course.’
Bald: having no or little hair on the head.
Pharmacy: a shop or hospital dispensary where medicinal drugs are prepared or sold.
Explanation of the above passage – Nishikanto was hopeful that Patol would remain at home for the rest of the day, as it was a holiday because Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday. (Rabindranath Tagore was a famous writer and poet from West Bengal). He further told Patol Babu that his youngest brother – in – law was in the production department of a film company. They had met the day before. His brother – in – law was looking for a person to perform the role of a man who had particular features. He described them as – his age must be around fifty, he should be short and bald – headed. When Nishikanto heard this, he was reminded of Patol Babu who seemed perfect for the said role. He had given Patol Babu’s reference to his brother – in – law and had asked him to contact Patol Babu directly. He wanted him to meet his brother – in – law and even lured him by saying that he would be paid money for performing the role.
Passage – Patol Babu hadn’t expected such news at the start of the day. That an offer to act in a film could come to a 52-year-old nonentity like him was beyond his wildest dreams.
Nonentity: an unimportant person or thing
beyond his wildest dreams: something which is next to impossible for a person
Explanation of the above passage – The purpose of Nishikanto Ghosh’s early morning visit was to give this news to Patol Babu. Patol Babu could not believe the news. He considered himself to be worthless. A person like him could never dream of getting an offer of a role in a film.
Passage – ‘Well, yes or no?’ asked Nishikanto Babu. ‘I believe you did some acting on the stage at one time?’
Explanation of the above passage – Nishikanto asked Patol if he was interested in the offer or not. He also confirmed that Patol Babu had been a stage artist in the past.
Passage – ‘That’s true,’ said Patol Babu. ‘I really don’t see why I should say no. But let’s talk to your brother-in-law first and find out some details. What’s his name?’
‘Naresh. Naresh Dutt. He’s about thirty. A strapping young fellow. He said he would be here around ten-thirty.’
A strapping young fellow: a person who is strong, tall and looks to be active and healthy.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu confirmed that he had been a stage artist and that he had no reason to refuse the offer. Although before confirming he wanted some details from Nishikanto’s brother – in – law. He asked Nishikanto about his brother – in – law’s name. Nishikanto replied that his name was Naresh Dutt. He was tall, strong and active. He would be coming to meet Patol Babu at around half past ten that morning.
Passage – Buying provisions in the market, Patol Babu mixed up his wife’s orders and bought red chillies instead of onion seeds. And he quite forgot about the aubergines. This was not surprising. At one time Patol Babu had a real passion for the stage; in fact, it verged on obsession In Jatras, in amateur theatricals, in plays put up by the club in his neighbourhood, Patol Babu was always in demand. His name had appeared in handbills on countless occasions. Once it appeared in bold type near the top: ‘Sitalakanto Ray (Patol Babu) in the role of Parasar’. Indeed, there was a time when people bought tickets especially to see him.
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Aubergines: brinjals, a vegetable
Verged: to be very close to
Obsession: a state in which he could not think of anything else
Jatra: is a Bengali word. The original word is Yatra (Sanskrit) which means a journey. Jatras is a popular folk-theatre form of Bengali theatre.
Theatricals: play performed in a theatre.
Handbill: a small printed sheet for advertisement.
Explanation of the above passage – The early morning offer of an acting role took Patol Babu into his past and reminded him of his early years when he performed in Bengali folk theatre as the lead actor. He had been a famous actor and the advertisements of the play had carried his name on the top. He had a huge fan following and many people would buy tickets for the show just to see him act. Patol Babu was so absorbed in his thoughts that he forgot the items which his wife had sent him to buy. He bought red chillies instead of onion seeds and forgot to buy aubergines. As Patol Babu had been a passionate actor, the acting offer reignited the enthusiasm once again.
Passage – That was when he used to live in Kanchrapara. He had a job in the railway factory there. In 1934, he was offered higher pay in a clerical post with Hudson and Kimberley, in Calcutta, and was also lucky to find a flat in Nepal Bhattacharji Lane. He gave up his factory job and came to Calcutta with his wife. It was quite smooth sailing for some years, and Patol Babu was in his boss’s good books. In 1943, when he was just toying with the idea of starting a club in his neighbourhood, sudden retrenchment in his office due to the war cost him his nine-year-old job.
smooth sailing: having no problems
toying with the idea: considering an idea
retrenchment: cutting down
Explanation of the above passage – The writer gives a flashback of Patol Babu’s life.
Patol Babu acted on stage when he lived in a town called Kanchrapara. At that time, he worked at the railway factory.
In the year 1934 he shifted to Calcutta as he had secured a clerical job in a company by the name of Hudson and Kimberley. He took a flat in a street – Nepal Bhattacharji lane to live in. He had a good time for nine years and was thinking of starting an acting club in his neighbourhood. However, the idea could not materialize. The company dismissed many of its employees in order to reduce its expenditure. This happened because of the world war, the company being a Multinational Company was incurring losses. Patol Babu was one of the dismissed employees.
Passage – Ever since then Patol Babu had struggled to make a living. At first he opened a variety store which he had to wind up after five years. Then he had a job in a Bengali firm which he gave up in disgust when his boss began to treat him in too high-handed a fashion. Then, for ten long years, starting as an insurance salesman, Patol Babu tried every means of earning a livelihood without ever succeeding in improving his lot. Of late he has been paying regular visits to a small establishment dealing in scrap iron where a cousin of his has promised him a job.
struggled to make a living: had a difficult time earning enough money
scrap: a small piece or amount of something
Explanation of the above passage – After that, he struggled to earn a living. He did many things – opened a store, worked in a Bengali firm, as an insurance salesman. He was unsuccessful in these as he closed the store after five years, gave up the job after a fight with the boss and after ten years of struggle, gave up the work of being an insurance salesman also. Then he was trying to secure a job at the shop of a scrap dealer with the help of a cousin of his.
Passage – And acting? That has become a thing of the remote past; something which he recalls at times with a sigh.That has become a thing of the remote past; something which he recalls at times with a sigh: sometimes remembers past events and experiences fondly
Having a good memory, Patol Babu still remembers lines from some of his better parts, ‘Listen, O listen to the thunderous twang of the mighty bow Gandiva engaged in gory conflict, and to the angry roar of the mountainous club whizzing through the air in the hands of the great Brikodara!’ It sent a shiver down his spine just to think of such lines.
Twang: a strong ringing sound
Whizzing: move quickly
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu had a good memory and he could recollect some of his famous dialogues. Then he recites one of them in his mind. The thought that such an impressive dialogue had been spoken by him was unbelievable for him. He trembled to think that he had spoken these lines sometime in the past.
Passage – Naresh Dutt turned up at half past twelve. Patol Babu had given up hope and was about to go for his bath when there was a knock on the front door.
Explanation of the above passage – Finally, Naresh Dutt reached Patol Babu’s house at half past twelve. Patol had been waiting for him since half past ten and had lost hope that he would turn up. As he was about to go for a bath, there was a knock at the door of his house.
Passage – ‘Come in, come in, sir!’ Patol Babu almost dragged the young man in and pushed the broken-armed chair towards him. ‘Do sit down. ‘
Dragged: pull roughly
Explanation of the above passage – Patol was excited to see Naresh Dutt and in his excitement almost dragged him inside the house and pushed a chair with a broken arm towards him to sit in.
Passage – ‘No, thanks. I —-
‘Oh yes. I must say I was quite taken aback. After so many years.’
‘I hope you have no objection?’
‘You think I’ll be all right for the part?’ Patol Babu asked with great diffidence.
Diffidence: modesty or shyness resulting from a lack of self-confidence
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh Dutt was taken by surprise and Patol Babu said that he was surprised to get the acting offer after so many years. Naresh inquired if he had any objections but on the contrary Patol seemed modest and asked if he was suitable for the role.
Passage – Naresh Dutt cast an appraising look at Patol Babu and gave a nod. ‘Oh yes,’ he said.
‘There is no doubt about that. By the way, the shooting takes place tomorrow morning.’
‘Tomorrow? Sunday? ‘
appraising look: to consider or examine somebody or something and form an opinion about that person or thing
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh Dutt checked out Patol Babu and confirmed that he was suitable for the role. He further said that undoubtedly, he was the best option for the role. Naresh Dutt further informs Patol that the shooting is scheduled for the next day. Patol was surprised and asked “tomorrow? Sunday?” as he thought that he had very less time to prepare for it.
Passage – ‘Yes, and not in the studio. I’ll tell you where you have to go. You know Faraday House near the crossing of Bentinck Street and Mission Row? It’s a seven-storey office building. The shooting takes place outside the office in front of the entrance. We’ll expect you there at eight-thirty sharp. You’ll be through by midday.’
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh Dutt confirmed that the shooting would take place the next day which was a Sunday and gave him directions of the venue which was not a studio but a building by the name of Faraday house located near the crossing of Bentick street and Mission Row. He told him that it was a seven-storied building. Patol Babu was supposed to report at half past eight in the morning outside the office in front of the main entrance. He further told him that he would be free by noon.
Passage – Naresh Dutt prepared to leave. ‘But you haven’t told me about the part,’ said Patol Babu anxiously.
‘Oh yes, sorry. The part is that of a — a pedestrian. An absent -minded, short-tempered pedestrian. By the way, do you have a jacket which buttons up to the neck?’
Passage – person travelling on foot
Explanation of the above passage – As Naresh Dutt was about to leave, Patol Babu got eager and asked him for details of the role. Naresh Babu apologized for not telling him earlier and said that the role was of an absent – minded, short – tempered pedestrian. He asked Patol Babu if he had a jacket with buttons upto the neck.
Passage – ‘I think I do. You mean the old-fashioned kind?’
‘Yes. That’s what you’ll wear. What colour is it?’
‘Sort of nut-brown. But woollen.’
‘That’s okay. The story is supposed to take place in winter, so that would be just right. Tomorrow at eight-thirty sharp. Faraday House.’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu replied that he had an old-fashioned jacket. He gave details that it was brown in colour and was made of woolen fabric. Naresh said that it would be perfect as the story was set in the winter season. He confirmed the day, time and venue once again and was about to leave.
Passage – Patol Babu suddenly thought of a crucial question.
‘I hope the part calls for some dialogue?’
‘Certainly. It’s a speaking part. You have acted before, haven’t you?’
‘Well, as a matter of fact, yes.’
Crucial: decisive or critical
Explanation of the above passage – Just then Patol Babu interrupted him with another important question. He asked if there were any dialogues for him. Naresh confirmed that it was obvious and asked if he had acted earlier. Patol Babu replied that he had acted earlier.
Passage – ‘Fine. I wouldn’t have come to you for just a walk-on part. For that we pick people from the street. Of course, there’s dialogue and you’ll be given your lines as soon as you show up tomorrow.’
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh Dutt said that he had worked upon the character given to Patol Babu as it was not merely one in which the person had to appear in front of the camera. For such roles, they picked up passersby from the street. The role given to Patol Babu was important and there were dialogues in it which would be told to him the next day when he would turn up for the shooting.
Passage – After Naresh Dutt left Patol Babu broke the news to his wife. ‘As far as I can see, the part isn’t a big one. I’ll be paid, of course, but that’s not the main thing. The thing is – remember how I started on the stage? Remember my first part? I played a dead soldier! All I had to do was lie still on the stage with my arms and legs spread. And remember how I rose from that position?
Explanation of the above passage – After Naresh Dutt left, Patol told his wife about the offer he had got. He analyzed that although the role was not a ‘big’ one, he would be paid for it. The money was not as important as his passion for acting. Patol recollected the characters played by him in the past – His first role was of a dead soldier in which all he had to do was to lie down still with his arms and legs spread out. He tells his wife that after that first role, he went on to become the leading actor of his time.
Passage – Remember Mr. Watts shaking me by the hand? And the silver medal which the chairman of our municipality gave me? Remember? This is only the first step on the ladder, my dear better-half! Yes –the first step that would–God willing-mark the rise to fame and fortune of your beloved husband! ‘
rise to fame and fortune: becoming famous and wealthy
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu asks his wife if she remembered that Mr. Watts (probably a well-known man) had shook hands with him and congratulated him. Also, he had been awarded the silver medal by the chairman of the municipality. Patol asserts that the offer was his first step on the ladder to success. He further says that if God wanted then soon he would become famous and wealthy.
Passage – ‘Counting your chickens again before they’re hatched, are you? No wonder you could never make a go of it.’
‘Counting your chickens again before they’re hatched, are you: dream of becoming successful and make plans that depend on something good happening before you know that it has actually happened.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu’s wife warned him that he was being over ambitious as nothing had materialized yet.
Passage – ‘But it’s the real thing this time! Go and make me a cup of tea, will you? And remind me to take some ginger juice tonight. It’s very good for the throat.’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu insisted that this time he would taste success for sure. He orders her to make a cup of tea for him. He also tells her to remind him to take ginger juice at bedtime as it is good for the throat and would help him deliver the dialogue well the next day. This shows that he was a fine actor as he wanted to perform well.
Passage – The clock in the Metropolitan building showed seven minutes past eight when Patol Babu reached Esplanade. It took him another ten minutes to walk to Faraday House.
Explanation of the above passage – As Patol Babu reached a place called Esplanade, the clock at the Metropolitan building showed the time as seven minutes past eight. He reached Faraday house, the venue in another ten minutes. This shows that he was a punctual man as he reached well in time.
Passage – There was a big crowd outside the building. Three or four cars stood on the road. There was also a bus which carried equipment on its roof. On the edge of the pavement there was an instrument on three legs around which there was a group of busy people.
Equipment: the necessary tools or machines
Explanation of the above passage – As he reached Faraday House, he noticed there was a huge crowd. There were three – four cars and a bus which had all the tools and machines on its roof. At the edge of the pavement stood an instrument having three legs. It was surrounded by a group of men who were probably setting it.
Passage – Near the entrance–also on three legs–a pole which had a long arm extending from its top at the end of which was suspended what looked like a small oblong beehive. Surrounding these instruments was a crowd of people among whom Patol Babu noticed some non- Bengalis.
What they were supposed to do he couldn’t tell.
Oblong: a rectangular object or flat figure with unequal adjacent sides
beehive: a dome shape structure where bees are kept
Explanation of the above passage – The writer describes another equipment which was placed near the entrance. It also had three legs. It was a pole with a long arm which extended from its top end and suspended a device which looked like an oblong shaped beehive. Patol Babu noticed that among the crowd there were some non – Bengalis also and he did not know the reason for their being there.
Passage – But where was Naresh Dutt? He was the only one who knew him. With a slight tremor in his heart, Patol Babu advanced towards the entrance. It was the middle of summer, and the warm jacket buttoned up to his neck felt heavy. Patol Babu could feel beads of perspiration forming around the high collar.
Tremor: tremble, shake
Perspiration: the process of sweating
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh Dutt was nowhere to be seen. Patol Babu did not know anyone else in the crew. He felt uneasy and walked up to the entrance hesitatingly. As the weather was hot and he was wearing a woolen jacket with the buttons closed up to the neck, he started sweating and could feel the drops of sweat forming on his neck.
Passage – ‘This way, Atul Babu!’
Explanation of the above passage – Just then Naresh Dutt called out to him and wrongly took his name as ‘Atul Babu’.
Passage – Atul Babu? Patol Babu spotted Naresh Dutt standing at the entrance and gesturing towards him. He had got his name wrong. No wonder, since they had only had a brief meeting. Patol Babu walked up, put his palms together in a namaskar and said, ‘I supposed you haven’t yet noted down my name. Sitalakanto Ray — although people know me better by my nickname Patol. I used it on the stage too.’
Gesturing: sign or signal
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu saw that Naresh Dutt was standing at the entrance of the building. He realized that Naresh Dutt had got his name wrong but was not angry as they had only met once before and that too for a short duration. Patol walked up to him and greeted him by folding his hands. He told him that his real name was Sitlakanto Ray but he was better known by his nickname – Patol which was used by him as an actor also.
Passage – ‘Good, good. I must say you’re quite punctual. ‘
Punctual: doing something at the agreed or proper time
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh praised Patol for being on time.
Passage – Patol Babu rose to his full height.
‘I was with Hudson and Kimberley for nine years and wasn’t late for a single day.’
‘Is that so? Well, I suggest you go and wait in the shade there. We have a few things to attend to before we get going.’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu became proud of himself. He told Naresh that he had worked with Hudson and Kimberley for nine long years and was never late for office. Naresh acknowledged his words and asked him to wait in the shade for his turn. He said that they had to do some preparation for the shooting.
Passage – ‘Naresh!’
Somebody standing by the three-legged instrument called out.
Explanation of the above passage – A person who was standing next to the three – legged instrument called out to Naresh Dutt.
Passage – ‘Sir?’
‘Yes, sir. He is”–er” that shot where they bump into each other.’
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh addressed him as ‘Sir’ and told him that Patol was supposed to perform in the scene where they bump into each other.
Passage – ‘Okay. Now, clear the entrance, will you? We’re about to start.’
Explanation of the above passage – The man ordered him to remove everyone from the entrance as they had to start the shooting.
Passage – Patol Babu withdrew and stood in the shade of a paan shop. He had never watched a film shooting before. How hard these people worked! A youngster of twenty or so was carrying that three-legged instrument on his shoulder. Must weigh at least sixty pounds.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu moved back and stood in the shade of a paan shop. He had not watched a film shooting earlier and was amazed at the amount of hard work done by the crew. He saw a young boy who would be around twenty years of age carrying a huge and heavy three – legged instrument on his shoulder. He estimated that the weight of the instrument would be around sixty pounds.
Passage – But what about his dialogue? There wasn’t much time left, and he still didn’t know what he was supposed to do or say.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol recollected that he did not know his dialogue. He did not have much time left and still he did not know what he was supposed to do in the role.
Passage – Patol Babu suddenly felt a little nervous. Should he ask somebody? There was Naresh Dutt there; should he go and remind him? It didn’t matter if the part was small, but, if he had to make the most of it, he had to learn his lines beforehand. How small he would feel if he muffed in the presence of so many people! The last time he acted on stage was twenty years ago.
Muffed: handle badly
Explanation of the above passage – Patol was nervous and anxious. He thought of walking up to Naresh and ask for the details. He felt that although his role was a small one, he had to perform it well. He had to learn his dialogue. He did not want to perform badly in front of such a huge audience. He was to act after a long gap of twenty years.
Passage – Patol Babu was about to step forward when he was pulled up short by a voice shouting ‘Silence!’
Patol Babu was stopped by a voice which shouted the word – “silence”.
This was followed by Naresh Dutt loudly announcing with hands cupped over his mouth: ‘We’re about to start shooting. Everybody please stop talking. Don’t move from your positions and don’t crowd round the camera, please!’
Explanation of the above passage – After that Naresh with his hands around his mouth announced that the shooting was about to begin and so, everyone should remain silent, still and away from the camera.
Passage – Once again the voice was heard shouting ‘Silence! Taking!’ Now Patol Babu could see the owner of the voice. He was a stout man of medium height, and he stood by the camera. Around his neck hung something which looked like a small telescope. Was he the director? How strange! –he hadn’t even bothered to find out the name of the director!
Telescope: an optical instrument designed to make distant objects appear nearer
Explanation of the above passage – The first voice was heard again. The man shouted the words – “Silence! Taking!’. Patol saw the man who was speaking. He was fat, had medium height and was standing next to the camera. Something which looked like a telescope hung from his neck. Patol thought that maybe he was the director of the movie. He realized that he did not even know the name of the director in whose film he had got the role.
Passage – Now a series of shouts followed in quick succession”–‘Start sound!’ ‘Running!’ ‘Camera!’ ‘Rolling!’ ‘Action!’
Explanation of the above passage – He announced the words- ‘Start sound!’ ‘Running!’ ‘Camera!’ ‘Rolling!’ ‘Action!’ one after the other quickly.
Passage – Patol Babu noticed that as soon as the word ‘Action’ was said, a car came up from the crossing and pulled up in front of the office entrance. Then a young man in a grey suit and pink make-up shot out of the back of the car, took a few hurried steps towards the entrance and stopped abruptly. The next moment Patol Babu heard the shout ‘Cut!’ and immediately the hubbub from the crowd resumed.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol observed that as soon as the word ‘action’ was heard, the scene began. A car came up from the crossing and stopped at the entrance of the building. A young man wearing a grey coloured suit and pink make up walked out of the back seat, walked a few steps towards the entrance door and then stopped. Just then, the scene was over and the word ‘Cut!’ was heard. As the shooting of that scene was over, the crowd resumed talking and moving.
Passage – A man standing next to Patol Babu now turned to him. ‘I hope you recognised the young fellow?’ he asked.
‘Why, no,’ said Patol Babu.
Explanation of the above passage – Another onlooker standing next to Patol asked if he could recognize the young man. Patol replied in the negative.
Passage – ‘Chanchal Kumar,’ said the man. ‘He’s coming up fast. Playing the lead in four films at the moment.’
Explanation of the above passage – He told him that the young man was Chanchal Kumar – an upcoming actor who was playing the lead role in four films.
Passage – Patol Babu saw very few films, but he seemed to have heard the name Chanchal Kumar. It was probably the same boy Koti Babu was praising the other day. Nice makeup the fellow had on. If he had been wearing a Bengali dhoti and punjabi instead of a suit, and given a peacock to ride on, he would make a perfect God Kartik. Monotosh of Kanchrapara–who was better known by his nickname Chinu–had the same kind of looks. He was very good at playing female parts, recalled Patol Babu.
Explanation of the above passage – Although Patol Babu saw few films, he could recognize the name as he was the same boy who was praised by Patol’s acquaintance Koti Babu. Patol felt that the boy was looking good in makeup. He imagined Chanchal Kumar wearing traditional Bengali dhoti and Punjabi kurta instead of the suit, riding a peacock and thought that he was perfect to play the role of Lord Kartik. He felt that Chanchal Kumar resembled an old acquaintance Monotosh whose nickname was Chinu who had lived in Kanchrapara. Monotosh would play the roles of female characters on stage.
Passage – Patol Babu now turned to his neighbour and asked in a whisper, ‘Who is the director?’
The man raised his eyebrows and said, ‘Why, don’t you know? He’s Baren Mullick. He’s had three smash hits in a row.’
smash hits: very successful
Explanation of the above passage – Patol asked the man standing next to him about the director of the film. The man was surprised that Patol did not know Baren Mullick who was well – known as he had made three successful films one after the other.
Passage – Well, at least he had gathered some useful information. It wouldn’t have done for him to say he didn’t know if his wife had asked in whose film he had acted and with which actor.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol was glad that he had some information about the people involved in the film in which he was acting in case his wife asked him any questions.
Passage – Naresh Dutt now came up to him with tea in a small clay cup.
‘Here you are, sir”–the hot tea will help your throat. Your turn will come shortly.’
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh Dutt walked up to Patol and offered him a cup of tea which would be good for his throat. He said that Patol’s turn would come soon.
Passage – Patol Babu now had to come out with it.
‘If you let me have my lines now.’
‘Your lines? Come with me.’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu asked Naresh for his dialogue. Naresh took him along with him.
Passage – Naresh Dutt went towards the three-legged instrument with Patol Babu at his heels.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol followed Naresh as he walked towards the three – legged instrument.
Passage – ‘I say, Sosanko.’
A young fellow in a short-sleeved shirt turned towards Naresh Dutt. ‘This gentleman wants his lines. Why don’t you write them down on a piece of paper and give it to him?
He’s the one who–‘
‘I know, I know.’
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh called out to Sosanko who was wearing a short – sleeved shirt. He asked him to write down Patol’s dialogue on a piece of paper and hand it to him. He started to give an introduction of Patol but stopped as Sosanko said that he could recognize Patol.
Passage – Sosanko now turned to Patol Babu.
‘Come along, Grandpa. I say, Jyoti, can I borrow your pen for a sec? Grandpa wants his lines written down.’
The youngster Jyoti produced a red-dot pen from his pocket and gave it to Sosanko. Sosanko tore off a page from the notebook he was carrying, scribbled something on it and handed it to Patol Babu.
Explanation of the above passage – Sosanko addressed Patol Babu as ‘Grandpa’ and asked him to accompany him. They walked up to another man called Jyoti. He borrowed a pen from him. It was a pen with red ink. Sosanko tore a piece of paper from his notebook, wrote something on it and handed it to Patol babu.
Passage – Patol Babu glanced at the paper and found that a single word had been scrawled on it– ‘Oh!’
Glanced: to take a brief look
Explanation of the above passage – Patol looked at the paper for a short while and read the word ‘oh!’ written on it.
Passage – Patol Babu felt a sudden throbbing in his head. He wished he could take off his jacket. The heat was unbearable.
Sosanko said, ‘What’s the matter, Grandpa? You don’t seem too pleased.’
Were these people pulling his leg? Was the whole thing a gigantic hoax? A meek, harmless man like him, and they had to drag him into the middle of the city to make a laughing stock out of him. How could anyone be so cruel?
Throbbing: to beat
Gigantic: huge size
Explanation of the above passage – Patol was disturbed after reading the one-word dialogue given to him. He was uneasy due to intense heat which now became unbearable and he wanted to remove the woolen jacket that he had been wearing. Sosanko could make out that Patol was unhappy and asked him the reason. Patol felt that all of them were making fun of him and that the shooting was a trick to fool him. He was a quiet man who never harmed anyone and these people had got him so far to the middle of the city only to laugh at him. He thought that they all were cruel.
Passage – Patol Babu said in a hardly audible voice, ‘I find it rather strange.’
‘Just “Oh”? Is that all I have to say?’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu was disappointed and complained in a low voice that it was strange that he had only one – word dialogue – “Oh!”
Passage – Sosanko’s eyebrows shot up.
‘What are you saying, Grandpa? You think that’s nothing? Why, this is a regular speaking part! A speaking part in a Baren Mullick film–do you realise what that means?
Explanation of the above passage – Sosanko reacted sharply and said that Patol’s role was a regular speaking role and that too in a Baren Mullick film. He said that it was a big thing and Patol could not realize what it meant.
Passage – Why, you’re the luckiest of actors. Do you know that till now more than a hundred persons have appeared in this film who have had nothing to say? They just walked past the camera. Some didn’t even walk; they just stood in one spot. There were others whose faces didn’t register at all. Even today–look at all those people standing by the lamp-post; they all appear in today’s scene but have nothing to say. Even our hero Chanchal Kumar has no lines to speak today. You are the only one who has–see?’
Explanation of the above passage – He said that Patol was lucky as more than a hundred persons had acted in the film so far and had nothing to say at all. They merely walked in front of the camera. Some of them merely stood in front of it while some were not even visible properly. He pointed out towards a group of people standing by the lamp – post who were to appear before the camera that day but had nothing to say at all. He added that even the lead actor Chanchal Kumar did not have any dialogues that day and so, highlighted that Patol’s role was unique.
Passage – Now the young man called Jyoti came up, put his hand on Patol Babu’s shoulder and said, ‘Listen, Grandpa. I’ll tell you what you have to do. Chanchal Kumar is a rising young executive. He is informed that an embezzlement has taken place in his office, and he comes to find out what has happened. He gets out of his car and charges across the pavement towards the entrance. Just then he collides with an absent-minded pedestrian. That’s you. You’re hurt in the head and say “Oh!”, but Chanchal Kumar pays no attention to you and goes into the office. The fact that he ignores you reflects his extreme preoccupation –see? Just think how crucial the shot is.’
Executive: senior official
Embezzlement: theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer.
Explanation of the above passage – Jyoti kept his hand on Patol’s shoulder, addressed him as ‘grandpa’ as he was aged and started describing the scene in which Patol had to perform. He said that Chanchal Kumar would be playing the role of a young businessman who rushes to his office on being informed that his employees had cheated him. As he walks hurriedly, he bumps into a pedestrian played by Patol Babu. Patol Babu hurts his head and says “Oh!” but Chanchal Kumar does not pay attention as he is in a hurry. Then Jyoti tries to convince him by saying that he is a part of a very important scene.
Passage – ‘I hope everything is clear now,’ said Sosanko. ‘Now, if you just move over to where you were standing. The fewer people crowd around here the better. There’s one more shot left before your turn comes.’
Explanation of the above passage – As they had described the role in detail, Sosanko requested Patol to get back as there was one more scene to be shot before his turn.
Passage – Patol Babu went slowly back to the paan shop. Standing in the shade, he glanced down at the paper in his hand, cast a quick look around to see if anyone was watching, crumpled the paper into a ball and threw it into the roadside drain.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu went back and stood in the shade of the paan shop. He looked at the paper in his hand, looked around him to see if anyone was watching and as no one was looking at him, he crushed the piece of paper which had the word “oh!” written on it and threw it in the drain on the side of the road.
Passage – Oh.
A sigh came out of the depths of his heart.
Just one word–no, not even a word; a sound–oh!’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu was disheartened that his dialogue was merely a sound not even a word. He took a long sad breath to express his disappointment.
Passage – The heat was stifling. The jacket seemed to weigh a ton. Patol Babu couldn’t keep standing in one spot any more; his legs felt heavy.
Explanation of the above passage – The weather became hotter and Patol Babu did not want to wear the woolen jacket any more as he was no longer interested in performing the role. He could not stand as his legs were unable to bear his weight.
Passage – He moved up to the office beyond the paan shop and sat down on the steps. It was nearly half past nine. On Sunday mornings, songs in praise of the Goddess Kali were sung in Karali Babu’s house. Patol Babu went there every week and enjoyed it.
Explanation of the above passage – He walked up to the office which was further ahead of the paan shop and sat on it’s steps. The clock showed the time as half past nine and Patol Babu thought that it would have been better if he would have gone to Karali Babu’s house instead. Every Sunday they would sing songs in praise of Goddess Durga and Patol Babu enjoyed it.
Passage – What if he were to go there now? What harm would there be? Why waste a Sunday morning in the company of these useless people, and be made to look foolish on top of that?
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu wanted to leave and go to Karali Babu’s house. He did not want to waste his Sunday among the film crew whom he considered useless and who were making a fool of him.
Passage – ‘Silence!’
Stuff and nonsense! To hell with your ‘silence’! They had to put up this pompous show for something so trivial! Things were much better on the stage.
Pompous: too serious and full of importance
Trivial: of little value
Explanation of the above passage – The word ‘Silence!’ was heard again and as Patol Babu was angry he thought that the entire shooting scene was just like making a mountain of a molehill. He felt that the stage and theatre were much better than films.
Passage – The stage……the stage……
A faint memory was stirred up in Patol Babu’s mind. Some priceless words of advice given in a deep, mellow voice: ‘Remember one thing, Patol; however small a part you’re offered, never consider it beneath your dignity to accept it. As an artist your aim should be to make the most of your opportunity, and squeeze the last drop of meaning out of your lines. A play involves the work of many and it is the combined effort of many that makes a success of the play.’
It was Mr Pakrashi who gave the advice. Gogon Pakrashi, Patol Babu’s mentor. A wonderful actor, without a tract of vanity in him; a saintly person, and an actor in a million.
Dignity: the state of being of respect
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu was reminded of his days as a stage actor and the words of his mentor Gogon Pakrashi were repeated in his mind. Gogon was a fine actor and was down – to – Earth. He had guided Patol that no role was small and that he should honour the opportunity that he got. An actor must put in his best to make the play which involved the effort of many people a success.
Passage – There was something else which Mr Pakrashi used to say. ‘Each word spoken in a play is like a fruit in a tree. Not everyone in the audience has access to it. But you, the actor, must know how to pluck it, get at its essence, and serve it up to the audience for their edification.’
Edification: the moral or intellectual improvement of someone
Explanation of the above passage – Gogon Pakrashi also said that each word spoken by an actor is like a fruit on a tree. The entire audience cannot understand it. It was the duty of the actor to speak the dialogue and along with his acting, convey the real meaning to the audience for their enlightenment.
Passage – The memory of his guru made Patol Babu bow his head in obeisance.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu bent his head forward to pay respect to his guide Gogon Pakrashi.
Passage – Was it really true that there was nothing in the part he had been given today? He had only one word to say–‘Oh!’, but was that word so devoid of meaning as to be dismissed summarily?
Explanation of the above passage – Now, Patol Babu reconsidered his role and dialogue. He felt that the role and the single – word dialogue were not that worthless that he should refuse to perform.
Passage – “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh”–Patol Babu began giving the exclamation a different inflection each time he uttered it. After doing it for a number of times he made an astonishing discovery. The same exclamation, when spoken in different ways, carried different shades of meaning.
Inflection: change in tone of the sound
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu spoke the word “Oh!” a few times and he realized that there were many different tones in which he could speak it. Each tone reflected a different meaning.
Passage – A man when hurt said ‘Oh’ in quite a different way. Despair brought forth another kind of ‘Oh’; sorrow provoked yet another kind. In fact, there were so many kinds of “Oh’s”–the short “Oh”, the long-drawn “Oh”, “Oh” shouted and “Oh” whispered, the high-pitched “Oh” and the low-pitched “Oh”, and the “Oh” starting low and ending high, and the “Oh” starting high and ending low. Strange! Patol Babu suddenly felt that he could write a whole thesis on that one monosyllabic exclamation. Why had he felt so disheartened when this single word contained a gold-mine of meaning? The true actor could make a mark with this one single syllable.
Provoked: to give rise
Monosyllabic: a word having a single vowel sound
Syllable: a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu realized that the word “oh” could be spoken in different ways to indicate different feelings like being hurt, sad or unhappy. Further the word could be spoken quickly, it could be dragged into a long “oh”, it could be shouted out, whispered, spoken in a high or low pitch, could be started in a low pitch and ended in a high pitch and vice versa. He was amazed at this discovery and he could write a book on the word which had a single vowel sound. Now he felt that his initial disappointment was pointless as his dialogue was full of meaning and was worthy for him. He could display his acting skills through this valuable dialogue.
Passage – ‘Silence!’
The director had raised his voice again. Patol Babu could see young Jyoti clearing the crowd. There was something he had to ask him. He went quickly over to him.
‘How long will it be before my turn comes, brother?’
‘Why are you so impatient, Grandpa? You have to learn to be patient in this line of business. It’ll be another half an hour before you’re called.’
Explanation of the above passage – The director again shouted the word ‘Silence’ and Jyoti was dispersing the crowd as the next scene was ready to be shot. Patol Babu walked up to Jyoti and asked him when would his turn come. Jyoti told him to wait patiently as there was another half an hour before his turn.
Passage – ‘That’s all right. I’ll certainly wait. I’ll be in that side street across the road.’
‘Okay–so long as you don’t sneak off.’
Patol Babu crossed the road on tiptoe and went into the quiet little side street. It was good that he had a little time on his hands. While these people didn’t seem to believe in rehearsals, he himself would rehearse his own bit. There was no one about. There were office buildings, so very few people lived here. Those who did–such as shopkeepers– had all gone to watch the shooting.
Tiptoe: to walk quietly and quickly
Rehearsals: a practice
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu said that he would wait for his turn in the side street across the road. Jyoti had said that it was fine as long as he was there for the shooting. Patol walked quickly into the quiet lane. He had some time to practice his dialogue. He believed in practicing before his performance. There was no one in the street and so it was the perfect place for him to practice.
Passage – Patol Babu cleared his throat and started enunciating the syllable in various ways. Along with that he worked out how he would react physically when the collision took place–how his features would be twisted in pain, how he would fling out his arms, how his body would crouch to express pain and surprise–all these he performed in various ways in front of a large glass window.
Enunciating: to pronounce clearly
Crouch: bend forward after the collision
Fling: throw forcefully
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu started speaking his dialogue in different ways. He stood in front of a large glass window and enacted his role. He practiced making the facial expressions he would have after the collision, the way he would bend forward and express pain and shock.
Passage – Patol Babu was called in exactly half an hour. Now he had completely got over his apathy. All he felt now was a keen anticipation and suppressed excitement. It was the feeling he used to feel twenty years ago just before he stepped on to the stage.
Apathy: lack of interest
suppressed: forcibly put an end to
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu’s turn came after half an hour. He was no longer disinterested rather he looked forward to performing well. He felt the same twenty years ago when he performed on the stage.
Passage – The director Baren Mullick called Patol Babu to him. ‘I hope you know what you’re supposed to do?’ he asked.
‘Very good. I’ll first say, “Start sound”. The recordists will reply by saying “Running”. That will be your cue to start walking from that pillar, and for the hero to come out of the car and make a dash for the office. You work out your steps so that the collision takes place at this spot, here. The hero ignores you and strides into the office, while you register pain by saying “Oh!”, stop for a couple of seconds, then resume walking–okay?’
Cue: a thing said or done that serves as a signal to an actor
dash: to run in a great hurry
resume: to begin after a pause
Explanation of the above passage – The director Baren Mullick asked Patol whether he knew his role to which Patol replied that he did. He further told him that first he would speak the words “Start sound”. The recordist would reply by saying “Running” which would be a signal for Patol to start walking from a pillar and for Chanchal Kumar who would come out of his car and walk fast towards the office. He told Patol to calculate the number of steps he would take so that they would hit each other at a particular spot. Further he says that after the collision the hero would ignore Patol and walk into the office while Patol would react with his dialogue of “oh” to show pain and after stopping for a few seconds, resume walking.
Passage – Patol Babu suggested a rehearsal, but Baren Mullick shook his head impatiently. ‘There’s a large patch of cloud approaching the sun,’ he said. ‘This scene must be shot in sunlight.’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol suggested that they practice once but Baren Mullick refused. There was a huge cloud gathering in the sky and he wanted to shoot the scene in bright sunlight. He was in a hurry.
Passage – ‘One question please.’
An idea had occurred to Patol Babu while rehearsing; he now came out with it.
‘Er–I was thinking–if I had a newspaper open in my hand, and if the collision took place while I had my eyes on the paper, then perhaps–‘
Baren Mullick cut him short by addressing a bystander who was carrying a Bengali newspaper. ‘D’you mind handing your paper to this gentleman, just for this one shot?
Bystander: a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu presented another idea which had struck him while he was practicing. He asked Baren Mullick if he could have a newspaper in his hand and look into it at the time of the collision, then maybe …. His words were interrupted by Baren as he asked a person standing nearby who was holding a newspaper to give it to Patol for the shot.
Passage – Thanks. Now you take your position beside the pillar. Chanchal, are you ready? ‘
Explanation of the above passage – Baren thanked the person, told Patol to stand by the pillar, called out to Chanchal Kumar for the shot and screamed “Silence”
Passage – Baren Mullick raised his hand, then brought it down again, saying, ‘Just a minute. Kesto, I think if we gave the pedestrian a moustache, it would be more interesting.’
‘What kind, sir? Walrus, Ronald Colman or Butterfly? I have them all ready.’
‘Butterfly, butterfly”–and make it snappy! ‘
Moustache: a strip of hair left to grow above the upper lip
Explanation of the above passage – Baren raised his hand as the shot was about to begin but dropped it abruptly and stopped it. He also became interested in details and called out to the makeup man Kesto. He asked him to put a moustache on Patol’s face. It would make his character interesting. Kesto offered the different styles of moustaches he had – Walrus, Ronald Colman or Butterfly to which Baren replied that the butterfly shaped moustache would be suitable. He ordered him to be quick as they were running short of time
Passage – The elderly make-up man went up to Patol Babu, took out a small grey moustache from a box, and stuck it on with spirit-gum below Patol Babu’s nose.
Patol Babu said, ‘I hope it won’t come off at the time of the collision?’
The make-up man smiled. ‘Collision?’ he said. ‘Even if you were to wrestle with Dara Singh, the moustache would stay in place.’
Explanation of the above passage – Kesto took out a small grey coloured moustache from a box and fixed it just below Patol’s nose with spirit – gum. Patol hoped that the moustache would not fall off his face. Kesto replied that he had pasted it well and that even if Patol wrestled with the legendary wrestler Dara Singh, it would not come out.
Passage – Patol Babu had a quick glance in a mirror which the man was holding. True enough, the moustache suited him very well. Patol Babu inwardly commended the director’s perspicacity.
Perspicacity: ability to understand somebody or something quickly and accurately
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu looked at his face in the mirror. His face looked better with the moustache and he praised the director for his talent.
Passage – ‘Silence! Silence!’
The business with the moustache had provoked a wave of comments from the spectators which Baren Mullick’s shout now silenced.
Spectators: a person who watches at a show
Explanation of the above passage – The interruption caused by the moustache episode had created interest in the on lookers who had started discussing it and were silenced by Baren shouting ‘Silence! Silence!’
Passage – Patol Babu noticed that most of the bystanders’ eyes were turned towards him.
Explanation of the above passage – All the onlookers were looking at Patol and then the director shouted ‘start sound’.
Passage – Patol Babu cleared this throat. One, two, three, four, five–five steps would take him to the spot where the collision was to take place. And Chanchal Kumar would have to walk four steps. So if both were to start together, Patol Babu would have to walk a little faster than the hero, or else–
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu cleared his throat and memorized again that he had to take five steps in order to reach the spot of collision while Chanchal Kumar had to walk four steps only. This meant that if both of them started walking at the same time, Patol had to walk faster. His thought was interrupted by the sound ‘running’.
Passage – Patol Babu held the newspaper open in his hand. What he had to do when saying ‘Oh!’ was mix sixty parts of irritation with forty parts of surprise.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu held the newspaper in one hand and memorized the expression with which he would speak the word ‘oh’. He would mix the feelings of irritation and surprise in the ratio of sixty to forty. Just then the word ‘action’ was heard.
Passage – Clop, clop, clop, clop, clop–Wham!
Patol Babu saw stars before his eyes. The hero’s head had banged against his forehead, and an excruciating pain had robbed him of his senses for a few seconds.
saw stars before his eyes: an idiom which means to take a blow to the head that is hard enough that you see specks of light that resemble stars
excruciating: very painful
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu started walking, took five steps and collided into Chanchal Kumar with a lot of force. The impact of the collision was so strong that Patol Babul lost his vision for a while. Chanchal’s head had hit Patol’s forehead and Patol felt intense pain. He became unconscious.
Passage – But the next moment, by a supreme effort of will, Patol Babu pulled himself together, and mixing fifty parts of anguish with twenty-five of surprise and twenty-five of irritation, cried ‘Oh!’ and, after a brief pause, resumed his walk.
Explanation of the above passage – Patol’s will power came into force, he stood up despite the pain, spoke ‘oh’ mixing the feelings of pain, surprise and irritation in the ration fifty to twenty five to twenty five and resumed walking. The director screamed ‘cut’ as the scene was over.
Passage – ‘Was that right?’ asked Patol Babu anxiously, stepping towards Baren Mullick.
‘Jolly good! Why, you’re quite an actor. Sosanko, just take a look at the sky through the dark glass, will you.’
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu was curious to know if he had performed well and asked the director about it. He replied that Patol was an actor indeed and then resumed work. He called out to Sosanko to look at the sky with a dark coloured glass and check whether the cloud was gathering or not.
Passage – Jyoti now came up to Patol Babu and said, I hope Grandpa wasn’t hurt too badly?’
‘My God!’ said Chanchal Kumar, massaging his head, ‘You timed it so well that I nearly passed out!’
Explanation of the above passage – Jyoti walked up to Patol Babu and showed concern as he was hurt badly. Chanchal Kumar massaged his head where it had hit Patol and said that Patol had timed it perfectly and that he had almost fainted after the collision.
Passage – Naresh Dutt elbowed his way through the crowd, came up to Patol Babu and said, ‘Please go back where you were standing. I’ll come to you in a short while and do the necessary.’
Explanation of the above passage – Naresh Dutt pushed the crowd aside with his elbow and walked up to Patol. He directed him to stand aside and wait for him. He would come in a while to pay him for his performance.
Passage – Patol Babu took his place once again by the paan shop. The cloud had just covered the sun and brought down the temperature.
Nevertheless, Patol Babu took off his woolen jacket, and then heaved a sigh of relief. A feeling of total satisfaction swept over him.
Heaved: produced a sound
Explanation of the above passage – Patol Babu stood in the shade of the paan shop. As the cloud had gathered in the sky, it weather became cooler but nevertheless he removed the woolen jacket that he had been wearing. He was satisfied by his performance.
Passage – He had done his job really well. All these years of struggle hadn’t blunted his sensibility.
blunted his sensibility: reduced his acting talent
Explanation of the above passage – Patol had retained his acting skills despite all the struggles of life.
Passage – Gogon Pakrashi would have been pleased with his performance. But all the labour and imagination he had put into this one shot–were these people able to appreciate that? He doubted it. They just got hold of some people, got them to go through certain motions, paid them for their labours and forgot all about it. Paid them, yes, but how much? Ten, fifteen, twenty rupees? It is true that he needed money very badly, but what was twenty rupees when measured against the intense satisfaction of a small job done with perfection and dedication?
Explanation of the above passage – Patol thought that his guide Gogon Pakrashi would have been happy to see his good performance. Patol felt that the film crew did not appreciate his hard work. They just called anyone, asked him to do the required act, paid him and forgot it. He thought that they would pay him a mere amount of ten, fifteen or maximum twenty rupees. He did need money but the amount of twenty rupees was nothing as compared to the immense satisfaction he had got by performing well. He did not want to undermine his effort by taking the small amount of money in return for it. Patol was satisfied with the great amount of satisfaction he experienced by putting in his best and performing well.
Passage – Ten minutes or so later Naresh Dutt went looking for Patol Babu near the paan shop and found that he was not there. ‘That’s odd–the man hadn’t been paid yet. What a strange fellow!’
Explanation of the above passage – After about ten minutes, Naresh Dutt went to the paan shop but Patol was nowhere to be seen. He thought that Patol was a strange man who had left without taking the money.
Passage – ‘The sun has come out,’ Baren Mullick was heard shouting. ‘Silence! Silence! —
Naresh, hurry up and get these people out of the way!’
Explanation of the above passage – The writer tells us that once again the Sun had come out in the sky and Baren Mullick resumed shooting. He called out to Naresh to clear the place for the next scene. The work continued, and no one was bothered about Patol who had left without taking his pay.
Question and Answers
Q1: What was the news that Nishikanto Ghosh gave Patol Babu?
A: Nishikanto Ghosh, a neighbour of Patol Babu told him that his brother-in-law, Naresh Dutt worked in the film industry and was looking for an actor. Nishikanto thought that the description matched Patol babu’s personality and he needed money also. So, he gave him his address to contact him for the role.
Q2: How did Patol Babu react? Why?
A: Patol Babu was surprised with disbelief that a fifty-two-year-old nobody like him could get an offer to act in a film. Acting was a passion for him. He got so lost in thought that on his trip to the market, he got confused and purchased wrong items.
He thought that this performance would be his first step on the ladder to fame and success.
Q3: Why had Patol Babu lost his first job in Calcutta?
A: Patol Babu had been working with Hudson and Kimberley in Calcutta for the last nine years. The Second World War led the company to losses. So, it underwent retrenchment to cut expenditures which led to Patol Babu losing his job.
Q4: How does Patol Babu reconcile to the dialogue given to him?
A: At first Patol Babu was dejected that his dialogue was not even a word but a mere expression – “Oh!”. Later, the shooting crew told him that he was lucky as he had got some dialogue as no one else, not even the lead actor had any dialogues on that day. As he was feeling that they had made a fool of him, he was reminded of his mentor Gogon Pakrashi and his words of advice. He had told Patol never to consider any role small and to put in all his efforts to bring out the essence of his dialogue through his acting.
These precious words of his mentor inspire Patol Babu to accept the role and perform it well.
Q5: Who was Mr. Pakrashi? How do his words help Patol Babu in enacting his role?
A: Mr. Pakrashi was Patol Babu’s mentor during his days of acting on the stage. He had adviced Patol Babu that even a trivial role was of utmost importance. As an actor, he was supposed to communicate the feelings and expression of his part to the audience.
These words helped him realize that the mere expression ‘oh’ was powerful. He found that there were many ways of speaking it which portrayed different feelings.
Q6: How do we know that Patol Babu was a meticulous man? OR
What were the special touches that Patol Babu gave to his role to make it more authentic?
A: The scene was that Patol Babu, a pedestrian, was walking absent-mindedly when suddenly the lead actor, Chanchal Kumar collides with him on his way to his office. Patol Babu got an expression “oh!” as his dialogue and wanted to put his best effort in it. He considered the various expressions in which it could be spoken and decided the perfect reaction as per the scene. He decided to mix sixty parts of irritation to forty parts of surprise to get it perfect.
He practiced his physical reaction after the collision in front of a large glass window and wanted to do a rehearsal also. He also suggested that he carry a newspaper in his hand to look realistic and readily got an artificial moustache on as he would look more interesting. He calculated his steps and those of the lead actor, timed it perfectly and finally gave his dialogue mixing fifty parts of anguish with twenty-five of surprise and twenty-five of irritation which shows his acting was realistic. All this shows his meticulous nature.
Q7: Why did Mr. Mullick turn down Patol Babu’s request for a rehearsal?
A: The director, Barren Mullick was preoccupied and considered the scene trivial to waste time in rehearsal. Also, he had to shoot the scene in bright sunlight. As a patch of dark cloud was approaching, he was in a hurry to shoot and thus, refused Patol Babu’s request for a rehearsal.
Q8: ‘I hope the part calls for some dialogue?’ Who says this? Why does he /she ask this question?
A: These words are spoken by Patol Babu when Naresh Dutt visits him for the first time.
Patol Babu is a seasoned actor and particular about his role. As he had not been told anything about the role, he was concerned and so asked this to Naresh Dutt. He wanted to know the role offered to him and the dialogues also so that he could prepare for it well. He was passionate for acting and did not act merely to earn money.
Q9: ‘Were these people pulling his legs? Was the whole thing a gigantic hoax? A meek, harmless man like him, and they had to drag him into the middle of the city to make a laughing stock out of him. How could anyone be so cruel?’ Why does Patol Babu have these thoughts?
A: Patol Babu had all these thoughts when the film crew jokingly addressed him as “grandpa” and handed him a piece of paper with “Oh!” scribbled on it as his dialogue. He felt that his dialogue was not lengthy enough to show his skill. The crew had cheated him by calling him so far for a mere thing and that it was a wastage of time and effort.
Q10: Patol Babu is an amateur actor for whom walk-on part in a movie turns into an ultimate challenge. Discuss.
A: Patol babu is a seasoned actor but a trivial role with a meager dialogue requires a lot of expression and Patol Babu wanted to put all his efforts in order to shoot it perfectly. So, he practiced his collision, the way he would fall and how he would speak his dialogue. He wanted his expression to be perfect. He also suggested that holding a newspaper would make him look realistic.
Q11: Do you agree with the statement that Patol Babu is a practical man who comes to terms with whatever life has to offer? Give reasons for your answer.
A: Patol Babu is a hardworking man who struggles to earn his livelihood and does not give up. He tries different professions and puts his best effort and does not get dejected by the returns that he gets.
He performs the role in the film also with perfection, and to his satisfaction which reflect that he is a true actor.
Q12: Why does Patol Babu walk away before he can be paid for his role? What does this reveal about his character?
A: Patol Babu had performed his role with perfection. As it was insignificant role, the crew arranged people and paid them some money to do this kind of roles. Accepting money for his role would undermine his performance and so, Patol Babu did not take money for it even though he needed it.
For Patol Babu the creative satisfaction was more important than money.
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