Class 10 English

Patol Babu

Satyajit Ray

Summary: This story is about a middle-aged person who was once bitten by the acting bug. Patol Babu is a middle-aged man with bald pate and short height. When he was young, he used to act in various dramas and theatres in the neighbourhood. After that, he had to give up his hobbies in the pursuit of his livelihood all through these years. But when he had least expected it, he got an offer to do a small role in a film which was being made by some famous director. Patol Babu is quite excited at getting that offer as it had rekindled the old flame of acting in him. When Patol Babu reaches the spot where shooting is to take place, he discovers that all he got was an inconsequential role. Patol Babu is quite angry at being tortured for such a useless role where he does not even have a proper dialogue. But he recalls the precious teachings by his theatre guru that no role is insignificant and an artist should do full justice to a role no matter how small or insignificant it appears. So, Patol Babu does full rehearsal before the shot and tries to do full justice to the role. He is deeply satisfied at his effort and so happy that he leaves the shooting spot without even collecting his wages for the role. This story shows the contrast between the life of a common man and the glitter of the film industry.

Answer the following questions briefly

What was the news that Nishikanto Ghosh gave Patol Babu?

Answer: Nishinkanto Ghosh brought the news that someone has agreed to offer a role to Patol Babu in a movie.

How did Patol Babu react? Why?

Answer: Patol Babu was surprised. He had acted in dramas when he was young but now he is in his early fifties and has left acting a long back. He is a simple middle class man who is struggling to make ends meet.

Why had Patol Babu lost his first job in Calcutta?

Answer: The Company for which Patol Babu was working suffered due to the war. It forced the Company to retrench a large number of employees. Patol Babu was among the unfortunate employees who lost their job.

How does Patol Babu reconcile to the dialogue given to him?

Answer: Patol Babu remembers the preaching of his guru in acting. He always advised that no role is small and one should do full justice to a role; no matter how insignificant it appeared. So, Patol Babu decided to give it his whole heart.

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

Answer: Mr. Pakrashi was the mentor of Patol Babu during his theatre days. He advised Patol Babu to never consider a role below his dignity. He advised that an actor should try to squeeze every drop of the line given to him. He said that acting was like a teamwork in which everyone’s effort brings the whole picture. His words appeared highly encouraging Patol Babu and thus Patol Babu began rehearsing to say ‘Oh’ in various styles.

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

Answer: Different activities of Patol Babu show that he was a meticulous man. To start with; he reached on time for the shooting. He tried to gather all possible information about the film; like name of the director, lead actor, etc. He wanted to get his dialogue beforehand so that he could get enough time to rehearse for his role. Even when he was given a monosyllable in the name of dialogue; he continued rehearsing that. He even counted the number of steps required to correctly time his collision with the lead actor.

Why did Mr. Mullick turn down Patol Babu's request for a rehearsal?

Answer: Mr. Mullick was aware about the inconsequence of the role given to Patol Babu. Hence, he did not want to waste time on rehearsal and refused Patol Babu’s request.

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

Answer: Patol Babu practiced his dialogue in a variety of ways to make that as authentic as possible. He wanted to hold a newspaper to appear like an absent minded pedestrian. These are the examples of special touches Patol Babu gave to his role to make it more authentic.

Discuss the following questions in detail

'I hope the part calls for some dialogue?' Who says this? Why does he /she ask this question?

Answer: Patol Babu enquires this. He wants enough time to rehearse his dialogue and hence asks this question.

'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?

Answer: When Patol Babu discovers the insignificant role offered to him; he develops these thoughts.

Patol Babu is an amateur actor for whom walk-on part in a movie turns into an ultimate challenge. Discuss.

Answer: Patol Babu is an amateur actor who has left acting a long time ago. He feels highly elated when he gets the news of an offer for a role. But Patol Babu feels quite dejected when he discovers that his role has no significance. Finally; the preaching of his old mentor encourages him to take up the challenge and do full justice to his role. Thus, it can be said that the walk-on part in a movie turns into an ultimate challenge for him.

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.

Answer: Patol Babu moves to Calcutta when a better offer is available. After he loses his job in Calcutta, he begins a shop which shuts down after some years. After that, he is working hard to earn his livelihood and appears to be a content man. When the role is offered to him, he accepts the fact that he is a small actor who may not deserve a big role. He also musters enough courage to do full justice to the role he was offered. These examples show that Patol Babu is a practical man who comes to terms with whatever life has to offer.

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

Answer: Patol Babu was satisfied at the fact that he did full justice to his role. For him, getting a role and playing it to its true potential was more important than earning money from the role. Hence, he left before he could be paid for the role. This shows that Patol Babu is a true artist and a good human being.

Do you think making a movie is an easy job? Discuss with reference to the story.

Answer: Moving making does not appear to be an easy task. The unit of a movie needs hundreds of staffs who have to carry out different tasks. Arrangements for shooting at a particular location can be cumbersome and time consuming. In case of an outdoor shooting, crowd management is another headache.

Here are some lines from the lesson. What do they tell us about Patol Babu's character? You may take help from the words given in the table below or find some of your own from the dictionary. The first one has been done for you

passionate actor diligent unassuming talented genial mercenary short-tempered introvert meticulous modest humble arrogant

  • That an offer to act in a film could come to a 52-year-old nonentity like him was beyond his wildest dreams.

    Answer: unassuming; modest
  • Indeed, there was a time when people bought tickets especially to see him

    Answer: talented
  • 'I was with Hudson and Kimberley for nine years and wasn't late for a single day.'

    Answer: diligent, passionate
  • 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

    Answer: passionate, meticulous, diligent
  • 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.

    Answer: Meticulous, diligent
  • 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?

    Answer: mercenary

Here are some lines from the lesson. Match the meanings of the underlined words with their meanings listed below


(a) 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 fashionto surrender or relinquish
(b) A faint memory was stirred up in Patol Babu's mind.stimulate the imagination
(c) At first he opened a variety store which he had to wind up after five years.shut down
(d) In Jatras, in amateur theatricals, to gain control over one's actions in plays put up by the club in his neighbourhood, Patol Babu was always in demandstaged
(e) Patol Babu was about to step forward when he was pulled up short by a voice shouting 'Silence!'stopped
(f) Patol Babu pulled himself togetherto gain control over one’s action

Patol Babu writes a letter to Nishikanto Ghosh to thank him for being instrumental in his getting a role in a film. He also shares his experience at the film shoot including the excitement and deep satisfaction that he derived from the same. Write the letter in about 200 words.

Answer: Dear Nishikanto,

Hope you are fine.

I thought of writing this letter just to say thanks for all your efforts in getting me a role in the film. For a person like me, it was a godsend opportunity. I never imagined that you will rekindle the fire of acting in me. When I went for the shooting, I was disappointed initially. But when I understood the significance of the role, I was very excited and highly motivated. The icing on the cake was the deep satisfaction which I derived after finishing the shooting.



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