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Class 10 English Literature Reader Chapter 5 Patol Babu, Film Star

Chapter 5 Patol Babu, Film Star

Patol Babu Summary

This story depicts the dreams and aspirations of smalltimers and the apathy of film people for whom making films is a business. Patol Babu was a middle aged man of about fifty years with a bald head. His neighbour Nishikanta Ghosh informed him that his brother-in-law Naresh Dutt, a film producer, was looking around for an actor for a scene in a film, with looks like that of Patol Babu. Patol Babu was so excited to hear this news that in his excitement, he made the wrong purchases in the vegetable market. Patol Babu remembered fondly that he always had a great passion for the stage and in his youth he had acted in many ‘Jatras’. Indeed there was a time when people bought tickets especially to see him.
It was in the year 1934, when he lived in Kanchrapara and worked as a clerk with Hudson and Kimberley. He had thought of floating his own theatrical club but he lost his job. Ever since Patol Babu had to struggle a lot to make a living. He worked in a Bengali film, worked as an insurance salesman but nothing lasted. He paid regular visits to various offices for jobs but nothing worked. He still remembered some of the dialogues of the plays he had acted in.
A new offer to work in films sparked his interest. Naresh Dutt duly arrived and told Patol Babu to report at Faraday House, next morning. On enquiry, Naresh Dutt told Patol Babu that it was a speaking role and he had to play an absent-minded pedestrian. Patol Babu was extremely happy and confided to his wife that he was aware that it wasn’t a big role, but one rose from small roles only and this might prove to be the beginning of a great career. His wife expressed her reservation but Patol Babu was in no mood to listen.
Next morning, Patol Babu reported on time at Faraday Building. He saw a big crowd with instruments and cameras being shifted here and there. He was instructed by Naresh Dutt to wait for his turn. Patol Babu was quite nervous since he had no idea about his dialogues and he didn’t want to make a spectacle of him self in front of the lead actors. In the meantime, the shooting of the movie started and one scene was shot. Patol Babu couldn’t wait any longer. He went to Naresh Dutt and asked for his dialogues. On glancing at the paper, Patol Babu was really depressed, since he was required to speak just one word ‘Oh!’ Patol Babu was supposed to act like an absentminded pedestrian and collide with the lead actor,
Chanchal Kumar, utter ‘Oh’ and resume walking. He was instructed to go and wait on one side. Patol Babu felt humiliated and let down. He felt the entire Sunday was lost in false anticipation of a good role. A faint memory stirred his mind. He remembered his mentor, Gagon Pakrashi’s advice that as an artist one must make the most of one’s opportunity, whatever it might be. This thought drove away his depression and he started rehearsing all kinds of exclamations ‘Oh’s’ that could be given at different occasions.
Finally Patol Babu was called after an hour. Patol Babu suggested to the director that the scene would look more realistic, if the collision took place, while he had his eyes on the newspaper. A newspaper was immediately arranged. The director suggested that a moustache on Patol Babu would really look more interesting. A moustache was stuck on his face. During the shot, Patol Babu packed in his best effort mixing 25 parts of anguish and 25 parts of surprise, in a single ‘‘Oh!’’ Everyone around praised Patol Babu’s acting skills and he went back satisfied near the paan shop. Patol Babu was tremendously pleased and felt that his acting skills were not blurred even after so many years. But now he felt dejected because there was no one who had appreciated his dedication. For the film-people it was a moment’s work and next minute they had promptly forgotten about that. He knew he would be paid, it would be a very small amount and he did need money very badly. But could twenty rupees measure against the intense satisfaction of doing a job perfectly. Ten minutes later Naresh Dutt was surprised to find Patol Babu missing, without collecting his remuneration. Next minute, all that was forgotten and the camera started rolling for another shot.


  • genial : sociable, kind
  • pedestrian : traveller on foot
  • crucial : important
  • suspended : hanging
  • oblong : rectangular with unequal sides
  • tremor : quiver
  • perspiration : sweat
  • hubbub : noise
  • resumed : begin again
  • scribble : to write quickly
  • gigantic : great
  • hoax : fraud
  • meek : timid
  • embezzlement : cheating of money
  • mellow : to soften by age
  • edification : improve morally
  • obeisance : gesture expressing respect
  • inflection : modulation of voice
  • monosyllabic : word of one syllable
  • collision : to collide with someone
  • apathy : indifference
  • anticipation : expecting something before due time
  • commended : praised l excruciating : acutely painful

Question 1.
With your partner answer the following questions :
What are your strengths ?
StrengthsWhy do you feel so ?

What is your dream career ?
I want become a ………
  • Is there any correlation between your strengths and aspirations ?
  • Do you think you can achieve your dreams ? Give reasons.
StrengthsWhy do you feel so ?
diligenceI feel I have been gifted with it.
talentI have acquired it partially (from birth) and partially I have got it by working hard.
capacity to hard workI have developed this capacity by nature and disposition and seeing others.
perseveranceThis, too, has been sharpened seeing the struggles of life.
toleranceThis is in my nature and I think it is necessary. Success doesn’t come overnight. One has to wait after contributing through intelligence, hard work and practice.

I want to become a TV artist.
  • Yes, I find correlation between my strengths and aspirations. I personally feel that I have acting blood in my veins due to my parents being stage actors. Then I have got training for acting also. I have played many roles both at school and college level. Most of all, I have got a good physique and charming appearance. All this has been appreciated, recognised and admired in a few reality shows.
  • Due to this all, I can say that I shall surely achieve my dreams one day. In fact, I have done smaller roles in some TV serials. But I am looking forward to a lead role in which I shall show my hidden and yet-unexplored talents. God willing, when I get it, I shall show my talents and abilities. I shalj also improve my role in looking natural. I want to become like my idols through hard work and perseverance.
Question 2.
Answer the following questions briefly :
(a) What was the news that Nishikanto Ghosh gave Patol Babu ?
(b) How did Patol Babu react ? Why ?
(c) Why had Patol Babu lost his first job in Calcutta ?
(d) How does Patol Babu reconcile to the dialogue given to him ? (V. Imp.)
(e) Who was Mr. Pakrashi ? How do his words help Patol Babu in enacting his role ? (V. Imp.)
(f) How do we know that Patol Babu was a meticulous man ?
How do we know that Patol Babu was a dedicated actor ? (CBSE 2014)
(g) Why did Mr. Mullick turn down Patol Babu’s request for a rehearsal ?
(h) What were the special touches that Patol Babu gave to his role to make it more authentic ? (V. Imp.)
(a) Nishikanto Ghosh told Patol Babu that his youngest brother-in-law was in search for an actor for a scene in a film. The role was meant for an actor who could be fiftyish, short and bald-headed. It reminded him of Patol Babu that he could play it ; beautifully. So he gave this news to him.
(b) After hearing Nishikanto Ghosh. Patol Babu was very excited. He had never expected t such news at the start of the day. He started building castles in the air.
(c) Patol Babu had lost his first job in Calcutta due to war. Retrenchment had started in his office because of that.
(d) Patol Babu reconciles to the dialogue given to him by recollecting the words of his mentor and guru Mr. Gogon Pakrashi. He used to say to Patol Babu that as an artist his aim was to utilize the opportunity to squeeze the last drop of meaning out of his lines. An actor’s duty was to treat every word of his dialogue like a fruit of a tree. He should get its essence and serve it to the audience for adulation.
(e) Mr. Gogon Pakrashi was Patol Babu’s mentor and guru. His words help Patol Babu to prove his acting talent to the best. Patol Babu first fights his supposed insult at one-worded dialogue and then rehearses well.
(f) Patol Babu was a meticulous man and a dedicated actor because he rehearsed well for his shot. Then he gave his one-worded dialogue an emotion. He also suggested that he should have a newspaper to make the scene more realistic and authentic.
(g) Mr. Mullick turned down Patol Babu’s request for a rehearsal because the scene was to be shot in sunlight. There was then approaching a large patch of cloud also. So it needed to be taken without any more delay.
(h) The special touches were : giving different inflection, saying the single-worded dialogue in low pitch, high pitch, long-drawn, shouting, whispering, starting low and ending high and vice-versa.
Question 3.
Discuss the following questions in detail and write the answers in your notebooks :
(а) 7 hope the part calls for some dialogue ?’ Who says this ? Why does he / she ask this question ?
(b) ‘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 ?
(c) Patol Babu is an amateur actor for whom walk-on part in a movie turns into an ultimate challenge. Discuss.
(d) Do you agree with the statement that Patol Babu is a practical man who comes to terms with whatever life has to offer 1 Give reasons for your answer.
(e) Why does Patol Babu walk away before he can be paid for his role ? What does this reveal about his character ? (CBSE 2012)
(f) Do you think making a movie is an easy job ? Discuss with reference to the story.
(a) Patol Babu says this to Naresh Dutt. Patol Babu asks this question because he thinks that the actors must have some lines to speak. Doing so will enable them to show their talent and to spellbind the audience with the acting.
(b) Patol Babu has these thoughts because his dialogue is simply one word ‘Oh !’ He has been a great stage actor of his time. He feels insulted at being given this dialogue. Due to that he has these thoughts at this time.
(c) It is a fact that Patol Babu is an amateur, careful and a meticulous actor. It is his first role in a film. His nature is to follow his mentor Mr. Gogon Pakrashi’s words. So he gives out the most authentic and realistic emotion to his acting. He has been a versatile actor of the stage. So it is natural that he should find it an ultimate challenge and perform it with a grand success. And he does it nicely !
(d) Yes, it is very clear from what Patol Babu does that he is a practical man. He is a wise, understanding, mature and pragmatic person. He is not blind to the harsh realities of life and to his neighbourly relations, though he fights with his own self about the level of his role. First he finds the offer demeaning. But he surrenders to the demand of the time and ‘acts’ with a grand success. However, he registers his protest in going home without taking the remuneration.
(e) Patol Babu walks away because of his indignation at the ordinary attitude of the film people towards his talent. He feels that none of them recognises his talent. They are a bunch of commercialised-minded people. They don’t have any appreciation for art and artists like him but more to money. This reveals his genuine talent as an actor and love for genuine and authentic acting.
(f) This story reveals that making a movie is an easy job but not easy for the persons like Patol Babu. Patol Babu’s line clearly shows this fact. The line is : “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.”
Question 4.
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.
NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 5 Patol Babu, Film Star 1
(a) That an offer to act in a film could come to a 52-year-old nonentity like him was beyond his wildest dreams unassuming; modest
(b) Indeed, there was a time when people bought tickets especially to see him ………
(c) ‘I was with Hudson and Kimberley for nine years and wasn’t late for a single day.’ ………
(d) 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 ………
(e) 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 ………
(f) 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 ? ………
(b) passionate actor, talented
(c) meticulous, humble
(d) diligent, meticulous
(e) talented
(f) genial, diligent
Question 5.
Here are some lines from the lesson. Match the meanings of the underlined words with their meanings listed below.
(a) Then he had ajob in a Bengali firm which he gave up in disgust when his boss began to treat him in too high-handed a fashion
(i) stimulate the imagination
(b) A faint memory was stirred up in Patol Babu’s mind.
(ii) to surrender or relinquish
(c) At first he opened a variety store which he had to wind up after five years.
(iii) staged
(d) In Jat ras, in amateur theatricals, in plays put up by the club in his neighbourhood, Patol Babu was always in demand
(iv) to gain control over one’s actions
(e) Patol Babu was about to step forward when he was pulled up short by a voice shouting ‘Silence!’
(v) shut down
(f) Patol Babu pulled himself together.
(vi) stopped
(a) → (ii)
(b) → (i)
(c) → (v)
(d) → (iii)
(e) → (vi)
(f) → (iv)
Question 6.
After Patol Babu returns home he recounts his experience in front of the camera to his wife. In pairs write out the exchange in the form of a dialogue and enact it before the class. You may start like this …..
Patol Babu’s wife : So what happened at the shooting today ? Did you get to do your role ?
Patol Babu : Oh, Yes, I had the time of my life
Mainly to be enacted at class level. One version is given below :
Patol Babu : … I was overawed to see the shooting for the first time. I felt excited that I would be a part of a film of mega hero Chanchal Kumar. But I felt dazed ….
Patol Babu’s wife : … What made you feel so?
Patol Babu : Well, I felt dazed when I was given a dialogue of only one word ‘Oh!’
Wife : It must not have happened. You have been a versatile actor. Times were when people bought tickets to see you on stage …
Patol Babu : Sure you are ! When I was given a one-worded dialogue, I felt quite heart-broken. I felt my talent was being abused. I looked at those people as useless. I felt how times had changed.
Wife : Before you went to Faraday House for shooting I had told you not to count your chickens again before they were hatched. But you were very optimistic. You boasted that you’ll again rise to fame and fortune. Now see yourselfl You always start building up airy castles like Sheikh Chilli. These always vanish in thin air.
Patol Babu : Yes, you are right. But you know I gave a real meaning to the scene. i gave inflection to the word ‘Oh !‘ and dipped it in an emotion. My suggestion to have a newspaper before colliding with Chanchal Kumar was readily agreed by the director Biren Mullick. Then Wife Then what?
Patol Bubu : Then… well… then I gave the shot without rehearsal though at one time I had a liking to return without giving it.
Wife : That could have meant you were not capable of doing the acting.
Patol Babu : Yes, this held me there. I recalled my guru’s words about a real artist. I saw that only. It made me deliver the scene in an authentic and realistic way. But by then I had developed a sort of hatred for these people.
Wife : How much did they pay you for it?
Patol Babu : Twenty rupees ! But I returned home without getting the money. I felt the meagre payment below my dignity that I might get. I don’t know why I did it, but it happened. Something from inside made me leave the place without accepting the money.
Wife : Will you take a cup of tea ?
Question 7.
Patol Babu impresses everyone at the shoot with his acting talent in spite of having a one word dialogue. In groups of four enact the word ‘Oh’ in different ways to show the following emotions :
  • happiness
  • sorrow
  • excitement
  • fear
  • sarcasm
  • pain
  • disappointment
  • surprise
Each group will then enact one of these emotions to the rest of the class using the word ‘Oh’. The other groups will try to guess which emotion is being expressed.
Mainly meant for ‘acting’ at class level.
Students shall need to put up various expressions on the face suitable for these emotions. It would be better if they learnt something about various ‘Rasas’ necessary for actors.
Question 8.
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.
1804, Chattopadhyaya Nagar
28 July, 20 – –
My dear Nishikanto Ghosh
I am, indeed, grateful to you to have enabled me to get a small role in a film. I felt greatly excited after meeting you. I went to the shooting site well before time. It was a new experience for me as before that I had never seen a film shooting. A huge range of equipment and lots of people were involved in it. I met Naresh Dutt who told me that I as an absent-minded pedestrian was to collide with the lead actor Sh. Chanchal Kumar. When I asked Naresh Dutt for the dialogue he simply wrote one word ‘Oh!’ I was to speak this after colliding with the lead actor.
I felt a bit amazed at it. I became indifferent to the role at once. But I recalled the words of my mentor and guru. An artist should squeeze the last drop of meaning out of his lines for the audience. Each word spoken was like a fruit and the artist’s duty was to pluck it for the audience. I reviewed everything and decided to take my role seriously.
I started speaking ‘Oh!’ differently. I gave different inflections to it. I added different emotions to it. When my turn came, I played my role with utmost dedication. I performed it so authentically that I derived deep satisfaction. Even Chanchal Kumar complimented me the way I did this role in one go. I personally feel that this role brought out my natural talent as an actor.
I am thankful to you for having recommended me for the role.
With best wishes
Yours sincerely
Question 9.
Listen to the passage on character actors and complete the exercise as directed.
1. Supporting roles are those roles that do not affect the plot or the subject of the film (True/False)
2. People become character actors chiefly because (Tick the right choices)
(а) they like doing supporting roles
(b) there are limited leading roles
(c) it is easier to act in a supporting role
(d) they can’t find any other work
3. ‘star quality’ refers to things like ……… (Tick the right choice)
(a) good looks and acting talent
(b) good looks and the right weight
(c) good looks and the right height
(d) good looks, height and right weight
4. After the age of forty the actors most likely to get less work are (Tick the right choice)
(a) character actors
(b) the male lead
(c) the female actors
(d) the female lead
5. The chief advantages of being a character actor is that ……… (Tick the right choice)
(a) they are never blamed if a film fails
(b) they can act for as long as they like
(c) they do not have to take care of their looks
(d) they do not need to be skilled at horsemanship or swimming
  1. True
  2. → (a) they like doing supporting roles
  3. → (d) good looks, height and right weight
  4. → (c) the female actors
  5. → (a) they are never blamed if a film fails.

Class 10 English Footprints Without Feet

  1. Chapter 1- A Triumph of Surgery
  2. Chapter 2- The Thief's Story
  3. Chapter 3- The Midnight Visitor
  4. Chapter 4- A Question of Trust
  5. Chapter 5- Footprints without Feet
  6. Chapter 6- The Making of a Scientist
  7. Chapter 7- The Necklace
  8. Chapter 8- The Hack Driver
  9. Chapter 9- Bholi
  10. Chapter 10- The Book That Saved the Earth

Class 10 English First Flight
  1. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 1- A Letter to God
  2. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 2- Long Walk to Freedom
  3. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 3- Two Stories About Flying
  4. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 4- From the Diary of Anne Frank
  5. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 5-The Hundred Dresses - I
  6. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 6- The Hundred Dresses - II
  7. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 7- Glimpses of India
  8. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 8- Mijbil the Otter
  9. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 9- Madam Rides the Bus
  10. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 10- The Sermon at Benares
  11. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 11- The Proposal

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