Sitalakanto Ray, or Patol Babu, had lost his clerical post with Hudson and Kimberley in Calcutta due to the cost-cutting measures during the war more than ten years ago. Since then, he had tried a number of different jobs, from running a store, to becoming an insurance salesman. However,
he was not able to settle into any of these endeavours and was in great need of money.
One day, his neighbour, Nishikanto Babu, introduced him to Naresh Dutt. Naresh was part of the Production department of a new movie and asked Patol Babu to do a small role in the movie. This offer made Patol Babu recall his younger days, when he had a settled job at Kanchrapara. ln those days, he was a regular actor in the Jatras, amateur theatricals and plays put up by the club in his neighbourhood. His talent was appreciated and his name often appeared on the handbill lis advertising the performances. In fact, people often watched the plays just for his performance. In recent years, however, he was too busy trying to earn a living and had to give up his love for the stage.
When Patol Babu reached the scene of the shooting outside Faraday House, he observed all the activity on the sets, but was anxious about his role and wanted to know what his lines would be. When Naresh dutt told him that he had to walk to a certain point, bump into the hero Chanchal
Kumar and say a single word, 'Oh,' Patol babu was initially disappointed. But he recalled his mentor Mr Pakrashi telling him that it was not the size of the role, but what you give to it that matters. So he started practicing various ways of saying the word, trying to mix 60 parts of irritation with 40 of surprise.
When the time came for the shot, he suggested that he should hold a newspaper, which the director agreed to. He was also given a moustache for the role. Finally, he performed a most impressive shot which did not require any retakes. However, while waiting for Naresh dutt to pay him for his role, Patol Babu realized that the creative satisfaction that he had got from this small performance was far more important than the money that he would have earned. He quietly went away from there.
Q.1 Answer the following questions briefly.
(a) What was the news that Nishikanto Ghosh gave Patol Babu?
Ans. Nishikanto Ghosh gave the news that his brother-in-law, Naresh Dutt would be coming to see him that day. It was about a small film part being offered to Patol Babu. He told him that his brother-in-law was in film business and was looking for an actor to play a part for a day. Nishikanto Babu had suggested Patol Babu for the role and given Naresh his address.
(b) How did Patol Babu react? Why?
Ans. Patol Babu reacted in a confused manner. He was mixed up and bought wrong supplies in the market. His concentration was not there and his mind wandered back to old memories. Patol Babu reacted in surprised, anxious and confused way because it was unexpected and beyond his imagination. He could not even think of getting a film offer at the age of fifty two when he had given up acting twenty years before and was living like a common unknown person.
(c) Why had Patol Babu lost his first job in Calcutta?
Ans. Patol Babu lost his first job in Calcutta because there was an economic recession due to World War in 1943 and his company - Hudson and Kimberley terminated his nine-year old job.
(d) How does Patol Babu reconcile to the dialogue given to him?
Ans. Patol Babu reconciled to the dialogue given to him when he remembered the advice given to him by his mentor - Mr. Gogon Pakrashi.
(e) Who was Mr. Pakrashi? How do his words help Patol Babu in enacting his role?
Ans. Mr. Gogon Pakrashi was Patol Babu's guru. He was an exceptionally good actor and human being. Patol Babu had very deep respect for him. His words helped him in enacting a very small role as he had said that the should not feel humiliated or insulted at being offered a small role. He said a play was a combined effort of many people. However small the role may be, an actor should try to draw meaning out of his part. Hi should express it to the audience and present it in such a manner that common people should be able to understand it. These memories encouraged him to accept and perform that role well.
(f) How do we know that Patol Babu was a meticulous man?
Ans. We come to know that Patol Babu was a meticulous man because he made an effort to practice and rehearse even a small role. He practiced speaking the one word - oh in many different ways and with different expression so as to it make it a better presentation. He did his rehearsal in a deserted lane in odd conditions. He requested the director for a rehearsal and also made a useful suggestion of reading a newspaper at the time of collision. He was meticulous as he planned details like number of steps that he was to take and number of steps the hero was to take for collision at a particular spot. He even went to the extent of working out his speed of walking. He divided his expressions as a combination of different proportions of irritation and surprise.
(g) Why did Mr. Mullick turn down Patol Babu's request for a rehearsal?
Ans. Mr. Mullick turned down Patol Babu's request for a rehearsal because a large patch of clouds was expected to cover the sun and film shooting could not be done in shade. The picture quality gets spoilt if lighting is not proper.
(h) What were the special touches that Patol Babu gave to his role to make it more authentic?
Ans. The special touches that Patol Babu gave to his role to make it more authentic were :
• He was reading a newspaper at the time of collision.
• He gave the expression of fifty parts of anguish, twenty-five parts surprise and twenty-five parts of irritation at the time of saying the word 'Oh'.
• He calculated and worked out number of steps and speed of his steps.
Q.2 Discuss the following questions in detail :
(a) 'I hope the part calls for some dialogue?' Who says he/she ask this question?
Ans. Patol Babu says - 'I hope the part calls for some dialogue'. He asks this because he wanted a speaking part in the film. He was curious to know about his part and he remembered that he was very good in delivering his dialogues when he used to act on stage. The chance to act once again in life reminded him of his old days and his strong skills at dialogue delivery. This chance raised hopes in him again of reviving a lost passion in life. He wanted to act and deliver dialogues to revive the memories of his past that was the reason he hoped that the role involved some speaking part.
(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
Ans. Patol Babu had these thoughts because he had been given only one word to speak - Oh as a speaking part. He had been told by Naresh Dutt that he had a speaking role. He was expecting some proper dialogue so he found one word as a dialogue very odd and humiliating. He had expected much more and had even begun building castles in the air in front of his wife as beginning a career in acting in films. He was disgusted and disheartened at a single word dialogue. He though they were trying to make fun of him by offering him a single word in the name of a dialogue and telling him that it was a speaking part. Patol Babu thought
it was very cruel to hurt someone's deep sentiments and make fun of them in public.
(c) Patol Babu is an amateur actor for whom walk-on part in a movie turns into an ultimate challenge. Discuss.
Ans. Patol Babu is was an amateur actor in the golden days of his life. He used to act on stage in Jatras, in amateur theatricals, in plays up by the club in his neighborhood; Patol Babu was always in demand. His name had appeared in handbills on countless occasions. Once it appeared in bold type near the top : 'Sitalaknaato Ray (Patol Babu) in the role of Parasar'. Indeed, there was a time when people bought tickets especially to see him. Patol Babu wanted to revive those times at least partly and still wanted to be recognized as a brilliant actor. He also remembered his mentor - Mr. Gogon Pakrashi's advice. Mr. Pakrashi used to say that however small part an actor may be offered he should try and extract meaning out of every word. He also said that an actor should know how to extract meaning out of each word and expression and present it in front of the audience. Patol Babu respected his mentor and took his advice. The desire to live up to his old fame and his mentor's advice made him take up a small walk-on part in a movie as a challenge. He took up that small movie part with a single-word dialogue as a challenge. Therefore it can be rightly said that Patol Babu is an amateur actor for whom walk-on part in a movie turns into an ultimate challenge.
(d) Do you agree with the statement that Patol Babu is a practical man who comes to terms with whatever life has to offer? Give reason for your answer.
Ans. I agree with the statement that Patol Babu is a practical man who comes to terms with whatever life has to offer. The reasons for this are-
• He did not take up acting on stage as a full time career as it was not sufficient to fulfill his need. He worked in a railway factory in Kanchrapara for a living because it was practical.
• He moved to Calcutta in 1934 to take up a job with Hudson and Kimberley because he was offered a better pay. Hence he took up what life offered him.
• He thought about starting a club in his neighborhood only after he was financially comfortable since it is practical to pursue a hobby only after the basic needs are taken care of.
• He stopped even thinking about acting when he lost his job. He was practical and put in his efforts to make a living. He struggled because that is what life offered him after he lost his job due to recession.
(e) Why does Patol Babu walk away before he can be paid for his role? What does this reveal about his character?
Ans. Patol Babu had played his small role perfectly and was very satisfied and happy about it. He found the satisfaction of earning twenty rupees very small in comparison; when he compared it with the satisfaction he drew out of his performance. Patol Babu walked away before he can be paid for his role because he felt the value of money was small and insignificant in comparison to the immense satisfaction he enjoyed by carrying out his job with perfection and dedication. He did not wish to sell this satisfaction so did not accept money for it and walked away. This reveals that Patol Babu was sincere and dedicated to his passion of acting. He had values in life which he did not compromise even with his need for money. It shows his strength of character.
(f) Do you think making a movie is an easy job? Discuss with reference to the story.
Ans. It is not easy to make movies. There are many people who contribute in making a movie and all of them have to do their part well to make it a success. The references below reveal that every small detail is taken care of while making a movie. There are many references to it in the story as :
• Naresh Dutt went all the way to use the service of a person who had already acted on stage and resembled a particular character in the story. He did it for a small part with just a single word dialogue - Oh.
• Many people worked on the set to make it a success. There were different people to work on different aspects of film making as director, assistants, lighting, carrying equipment, sound recording, make-up, Dialogues, camera men, hiring people and making payments etc.
• In movie-making the entire unit acts promptly. For example, when the director calls for silence everyone becomes quiet, when he asked for a moustache the make-up man had many types ready, when Naresh Dutt asked for a pen he immediately got one and the light-men, camera-men and sound recording men were always on their toes and worked very promptly.
• The director Baren Mullick heard Patol Babu's Suggestion for reading a newspaper at the time of his collision with the hero. He found it useful so agreed to it. In film making the director is not rigid and he is open to suggestions which he finds can improve the scenes.
• Patol Babu suggested a rehearsal but Baren Mullick refused because he saw a cloud approaching the sum. He knew he had to finish shooting the film scene before it covered the sun and cast a shadow.
• The director decided at the last minute that a moustache would make Patol Babu's role more appealing so he asked the make-up man for a moustache and even told him what type of moustache could appear better.
Long Answers Type Questions
Q.1 Describe the character of Patol Babu.
Ans. Very punctual-always on time at work and for the shoot. Unassuming and modest, very thrilled at learning of opportunity, felt such an opportunity beyond wildest dream. Talented actor in the pastpeople had bought tickets to see him act. Practical-decides to make the most of a tiny film role and practises hard. Diligent and hard working-wants rehearsals. Creative person-does not wait to be paid because of creative satisfaction.
Q.2 Write a letter from Patol Babu to Nishikanto Ghosh describing his satisfaction with the role.
Ans. 15 May xxxx
Expressing gratitude for recommending me to Naresh Dutt-opportunity of a lifetime revived memories of youth-had been full of struggle-so no time for acting-though role had been small and the dialogue only one word, very satisfying-after years felt deep contentment and joy-hope more such opportunities come my way.
Q.3 Write Baren Mullick/s diary for the day of the shooting.
Ans. 15 May xxxx
Today-satisying shooting as per schedule-scene reqUired hero to enter his office preoccupied stateembezzlement in office-bumps against pedestrian-incidentally the man who played the role was a surprise-gave just the right expression-moustache added to get up-seemed ordinary-had doubts when I first saw him-what a surprise package he turned out to be. The suggestion of using newspaper added to the role. May be could give him a bigger role in the next film.
Q.4 Write a letter from Naresh Dutt to Patol Babu sending him the money he had earned.
Ans. 15 May xxxx
Dear Patol Babu,
Thank you for today-excellent acting-director and other members of production team very happy with shot-gave just the right expression-looked the part with jacket and moustache-idea of using newspaper was brilliant-however, why did you leave without taking the money? Sending cheque with the letter.
Q.5 A Film Critic reviews the movie once it finally releases. Write a review/ noticing the impact of Patol Babu/s scene.
Ans. The new film by Baren Mullick unusual story about struggle of hero-embezzlement at work-difficulties faced with fortitude-great direction-eye for detail-characters appropriately represented-actors/actresses well chosen. Infact mention must be made of the character of a pedestrian-old man wearing jacket collides with the hero-man new-but excellent expressions.
Q.6 As Gogon Parkashi's write a letter to Patol Babu congratulating him on his performance.
Ans. 21 May xxxx
Heard of your movie debut-well done-always knew you would join fllms some dayproud moment to see name on billboards-great impact inspite of tiny role-expression after collision marvellous-any new offers? Take acting seriously-such talent should not be wasted-let us meet soon.