Class 10 Literature Reader

Patol Babu

Satyajit Ray


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.

Exercise Questions

Part 1

Answer the following questions briefly

Question 1: 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.

Question 2: 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.

Question 3: 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.

Question 4: 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.

Question 5: 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.

Question 6: 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.

Question 7: 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.

Question 8: 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

Question 1: '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.

Question 2: '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.

Question 3: 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.