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Patol Babu Summary in English by Satyajit Ray
Patol Babu Summary in English
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. In 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 handbills 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 realised that the creative satisfaction that he had got from this small performance was far more important than the money that he would have earned. He quietly went away from there.
Patol Babu Summary Questions and Answers
Answer the following questions briefly
a. What was the news that Nishikanto Ghosh gave Patol Babu?
Nishikanto Babu’s youngest brother-in-law was in the film industry and he was looking for an actor for a film they were shooting. He had described the character to Nishikanto Babu who had felt that Patol Babu was just right for the role. So he had given him Patol Babu’s address.
b. How did Patol Babu react? Why?
It shocked and excited Patol Babu because it was most unexpected.
c. Why had Patol Babu lost his first job in Calcutta?
Patol Babu had lost his first job in Calcutta as a result of retrenchment during the War.
d. How does Patol Babu reconcile to the dialogue given to him?
No, Patol Babu was not impressed with his dialogue because he felt the people were pulling his leg when he looked at his dialogue. But, then he was reminded of his mentor’s words who sai never to take any role lightly.
e. Who was Mr. Pakrashi? How do his words help Patol Babu in enacting his role?
Patol Babu was reminded of the advice given to him by his mentor Gogon Pakrashi who had told him never to consider any role below his dignity and to give it his best, whatever the length of his role might be. He had also said that each word spoken in a play was like a fruit in a tree. Not everyone in the audience could access it but it is up to the actor to know how to deliver the essence of those lines to his audience.
f. How do we know that Patol Babu was a meticulous man?
Even though he had got only one word to say in the role of a pedestrian, Patol Babu spent his time waiting for his shot in a quiet little side street rehearsing how he would react and how he would portray the expressions of pain and surprise on his face. In order to check his performance, he rehearsed in front of a large glass window.
g. Why did Mr. Mullick turn down Patol Babu’s request for a rehearsal?
Probably because it was not a very important or difficult a scene and most importantly because there was a cloud approaching the sun and he wanted to shoot the scene in sunlight.
h. What were the special touches that Patol Babu gave to his role to make it more authentic?
Patol Babu asked the director if he could act as if he was reading a newspaper when the collision took place. He also had planned to express 60 percent irritation and 40 percent surprise through his one-word dialogue.
Discuss the following questions in detail and write the answers in your notebooks:
a. ‘I hope the part calls for some dialogue? ’ Who says this? Why does he /she ask this question?
Patol Babu says this to Naresh Dutt. He asks this question to find out more about his role and if it is a significant one. Of course, only a role with some dialogue would count as a meaty role which is why he wanted to know. Naresh tells him that he obviously has dialogue or if it were some part of a passer-by, he would have just picked someone off the road.
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?
Patol Babu has these thoughts after Sosonko gave him his lines which consisted of only one word, ‘Oh’. He believes it to be humiliating to have been asked to come here all the way from his home simply to utter one dialogue. He feels that it isn’t a significant role at all and that the crowd that has gathered would simply laugh at him.
He feels belittled and that the crew including Naresh were cruel to have done this. This is majorly because he feels massive disappointment
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.
a. That an offer to act in a film could come to a 52-year-old nonentity like him was beyond his wildest dreams. ……………….
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 7 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 wouldfeel 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? ………………….