Poets and pancakes class 12 chapter 6 Summary Explanation

Poets and pancakes class 12 chapter 6 English Flamingo summary Explanation Question and Answer

Poets and pancakes -here is class 12 English Flamingo chapter 6 Poets and pancakes summary and Explanation of the lesson along with meaning of difficult words. Also the explanation is followed by a summary of the lesson. All the Exercises and Question and Answer Given at the back of the lesson has been covered.

Poets and pancakes class 12 Introduction

The lesson is taken from the book’ my years with the boss’ written by Asokamitran, In this excerpt talks about all the elements that kept Gemini studios running. from pancake make-up to the office boy of the make-up department, from subbu to the lawyer, every element helped in making Gemini. studios a successful film producing company.

Poets and pancakes class 12 About the Author

Asokamitran (1931) a Tamil writer. recounts his years at Gemini studios in his book my years with boss which talks of the influence of movies on every aspect of life in India the Gemini studios.. located in Chennai. was set up in 1940. it was one of the most influential film-producing organisations of India in the early days of Indian film-making its founder was .S.S. Vasan. the duty of Asokamitran in Gemini studios was to cut out newspaper. clippings on a wide variety of subjects and store them in files. many of these had to be written out by hand.

Poets and pancakes class 12 Important Phrases
  1. Blew over –Give a long, angry speech of Criticism or accusation
  2. Was struck dumb — render speechless, as by surprise or shock
  3. Catapulted into –to shoot Forth or launch
  4. A Coat of mail — Overlapping metal plates
  5. played into their hands — to act to give an advantage to opponent.
  6. The Favorite haunt — A Frequently visited place
  7. Heard a bell ringing — stirring an often Indistinct memory
Poets and pancakes class 12 Important Keywords ( use to Your Exam )
  1. Maiden — First
  2. Incandescent –Glowing
  3. Cubicle — A small partition of a room
  4. Perverts — corrupt
  5. Frustration –Feeling of being upset as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.
  6. Ignominy –Shame (Kalan )
  7. Woes — Great sorrow (Sankat )
  8. Communism — All property is owned by the community and each person receives according to their ability and needs.
Poets and pancakes class 12 Theme

An account of the events and personalities. in a film company in the early days of Indian Cinema.


Poets and writers in a film company environment

Poets and pancakes class 12 Important Points
Gemini Studio (GS)
  • It was one of Indian’s pioneer movie studios estd. In 1940
  • Situated in the present-day Chennai, owned by S.S Vasan and worked by over 600 staff.
  • Pancake was the makeup material used by the GS.

The Office Boy

  • Office boy was a grow up man ( 40 years age ) In the makeup Department of the GS.
  • He was in charge of the crowd makeup.
  • He applied pancake one their faces with the help of a dipped paint brush.


  • Asokamitran was one of the staff whose Job was to collect information such as news events from newspaper and magazines and to paste them in files.
  • The other staff considered his job out of place.
Poets and pancakes class 12 Explanation

Pancake was the brand name of the make-up material that Gemini studios bought in truck-loads Greta Grabo’ must have used it. miss Gohar must have used it. vyjayantimala must also have used. it but Rati Agnihotri may not have even heard of it. the make up department of the Gemini studios was in the upstairs of a building that was believed to have been Robert Clive’s stables. A dozen other buildings

In the city are said to have been his residence. for his brief life and an even briefer stay in Madras. Robert Clive seems to have done a lot of moving. besides fighting some impossible battles in remote corners of India and marrying a maiden in st. Mary’s church in fort St. George in madras.

The make-up room had the look of a hair-cutting salon with lights at all angles around half a dozen large mirrors. they were all Incandescent lights. so you can imagine the fiery misery of those subjected to make-up the make-up department was first headed by a bengali who came too big for a studio and left.

He was succeeded by a Maharashtrian who was assisted by a Dharwar Kannadiga, an Andhra. a Madras Indian Christian. an Anglo-Burmese and the usual local Tamil. all this shows that there was a great deal of national Integration long before A.I.R and Doordarshan began broadcasting Programmes on national

Integration. this gang of nationally Integrated make-up men could turn any decent-looking person into a hideous crimson hued monster with the help of truck-loads of pancake and a number of other locally made potions and potions and lotions. those were the days of mainly Indoor shooting.

Director Chair

And only five percent of the film was shot outdoors. I suppose the sets and studio lights needed the girls and boys to be made to hierarchy was maintained in the make-up department. the chief and actresses ugly, his senior assistant the second hero and heroine. the junior assistant the main comedian. and so forth. the players who played the crowd were the responsibility of the office boy (Even the make-up department of the Gemini studio had an office boy)

On the days when there was a crowd shooting you, could see him mixing his paint in a giant vessel and slapping it on the crowd players the idea was to close every pore on the surface of the face in the process of applying make-up he wasn’t exactly a boy, he was in his early forties having entered the studios years ago in the hope of becoming a start actor or a top screen writer.

Director or lyrics writer. he was a bit of a poet. In those days I worked in a cubicle. two whole sides of which were French window . (I didn’t know at that time they were called French window). Seeing me sitting at my desk tearing up newspapers day in and day out, most people thought I was doing next to nothing It is likely that the boss thought likewise too. so anyone who felt I should be given

Some occupation would barge into my cubicle and deliver an extended lecture. the boy’ in the make-up department had decided I should be enlightened on how great literary talent was being allowed to go waste in a department fit only for barbers and perverts. soon I was praying for crowd-shooting all the time. nothing short of it could save me from his epics.

In all Instances of frustration. you will always find the anger directed towards a single person openly or covertly and this man of the make-up department was convinced that all his woes. ignominy and neglect were due to Kothamangalam Subbu. Subbu. was the No. 2 at Gemini Studios he couldn’t have had a more encouraging opening in films than our grown-up make-up boy had,

On the contrary he must have had to face more uncertain and difficult times. for when he began his career. there were no firmly established film producing companies. or studios. Even in the matter of education specially formal education Subbu couldn’t have had an appreciable lead over our boy. but by virtue of being born a Brahmin-a virtue. Indeed he must have had exposure to more affluent situations.

And people, he had the ability to took cheerful at all times even after having had a hand in a flop film. he always had work for somebody–he could never do things on his own but his sense of loyalty made him Identify himself with his principal completely and turn his entire creativity to his principal’s advantage. he was tailor-made for films.

Here was a man who could be inspired when commanded. the rat fights the tigress underwater and kills her but takes pity on the cubs and tends them lovingly I don’t know how to do the scene. the producer would say and Subbu would come out with four ways of the rat pouring affection on its victim’s offspring Good’ but I am not sure it is effective enough’

The Producer would say and in a minute subbu would come out with fourteen more alternatives. film-making must have been and was so easy with a man like subbu around and if ever there was a man who gave direction and definition to Gemini studios during its golden years.

it was subbu. Subbu had a separate Identity as a poet and though he was certainly capable of more complex and higher forms. he deliberately chose to address his poetry to the masses. his success in films overshadowed and dwarfed his literary, achievements-or so his critics felt.

He composed several truly original story’ poems in folk refrain and direction and also wrote a sprawling novel Thillana Mohanambal with dozes of very deftly etched characters. he quite successfully recreated the mood and manner of the Devadasis of the early 20th century. he was an amazing actor-he never aspired to the lead roles but whatever subsidiary role he played in any of the films.

He performed better than the supposed main players. he had a genuine love for anyone he came across and his house was a permanent residence, for dozen of near and improvident man, and yet he had enemies. was it because he seemed so close and intimate with the boss? or was it his general demeanour that resembled a sycophant’s or his readiness to say nice things about everything’ In any

case, there was this man in the make-up department who would wish the direst things for Subbu. you saw Subbu always with the boss but in the attendance. rolls he was grouped under a department called the story Department comprising a lawyer and an assembly of writers. and poets the lawyer was also officially known as the legal advisor. but everybody referred to him as the opposite, An extremely talented actress. who was also Extremely temperamental

Once blew over on the sets, while everyone stood stunned. the lawyer quietly switched on the recording equipment when the actress paused ‘for breath the lawyer said to her’ one minute. please and played back the recording there was nothing Incriminating or unmentionably foul about the actress’ s tirade against the producer.

But when she heard her voice again through the sound equipment she was truck dumb. a girl from the countryside’ she hadn’t gone through all the stage of worldly experience that generally precede a position of importance and sophistication that she had found herself catapulted into.

She never quite recovered from the terror she felt that day. that was the end of a brief and brilliant acting career , the legal advisor. who was also a member of the story Department had wore a kind of uniform khadi dhoti with a slightly oversized and clumsily tailored white khadi shirt-the legal advisor wore pants and a tie and sometimes a coat that looked like a alone and mail.

Often he looked alone and helpless man of cold logic in a crowd of dreamers — a neutral man in an assembly of Gandhiites and Khadiites .like so many of those who were close to the boss, he was allowed to produce a film and though a

Lot of raw stock and pancake were used on it. not much came of the film. then one day the boss closed down the story. Department and this was perhaps the only Instance in all human history where a lawyer lost his job because the poets were asked to go home.

Gemini studios was the favouurite haunt of poets like S.D.S. Yogiar Sangu Subramanayam, Krishna Sastry and Harindranath Chattopadhyaya. it had an excellent mess which supplied good coffee at all times of the day and for most part of the night.

Those were the days when Congress rule meant Prohibition and meeting over a cup of coffee was rather satisfying entertainment. Barring the office boys and a couple of clerks, everybody else at the studios radiated leisure, a pre-requisite for poetry.

Most of them wore Khadi and worshipped Gandhiji but beyond that they had not the faintest appreciation for political thought of and kind naturally they were all averse to the term communism’ A communist was a Godless man he had no filial or conjugal love’

He had no compunction about Killing his own parents or his Children. he was always out to cause and spread unrest and violence among innocent and ignorant people’ such notions which prevailed everywhere else in South India at that time also, naturally floated about vaguely among the Khadi-clad poets of Gemini Studios, Evidence of it was soon forthcoming .

When Frank Buchman’s Moral Re-Armament army some two hundred strong, visited madras sometimes in 1952, they could not have found a warmer host in India than the Gemini studios. someone called the group an international circus. they weren’t very good on the trapeze and their acquaintance with animals was only at the dinner table. but they presented two plays in a most professional manner,

Their’ Jotham valley and the Forgotten factor’ ran several shows in madras and along with the other citizens of the city, the Gemini family of six hundred saw the plays over and over again. the message of the plays were usually plain and simple homilies. but the sets and costumes were first-rate, madras and the Tamil drama community were

terribly impressed and for some years almost all Tamil plays had a scene of sunrise and sunset in the manner of Jotham valley’ with a bare stage a white background curtain and a tune played on the flute, it was some years later that I learnt that the MRA was a kind of counter-movement to International communism and the big bosses of Madras. like Mr. Vasan simply played

Into their hands. I am not sure however, that this was indeed the case, for the unchangeable aspects of these big boss and their enterprises remained the same. MRA or no MRA, International communism or no international communism the staff of Gemini studios had a nice time hosting two hundred people of all hues and sizes of at least twenty nationalities. it was such a change from the usual collection

Of crowd players waiting to be slapped with thick layers of make-up by the office-boy in the make-up department . a few months later, the telephone lines of the big bosses of madras buzzed and once again we at Gemini studios cleared a whole shooting stage to welcome another visitor,

All they said was that he was a poet from England. the only poets from England the simple Gemini staff knew or heard of were Wordsworth and Tennyson’ the more literate ones knew of keats. Shelley and Byron’ and one or two might have faintly come to know of someone by the name Eliot, who was the poet

He is an editor that’s why the boss is giving him a big reception ‘ Vasan was also the editor of the popular Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan. He wasn’t the editor of any of the known names of British publications in madras. that is those known were taking the initiative. the surmise was that the poet was the editor of a daily– but not from the Manchester Guardian or the London times.

That was all that even the most well-informed among us knew.

At last, around four in the afternoon the poet ( or the editor) arrived, he was a tall man. very English very serious and of course very unknown to all of us. battling with half a dozen pedestal fans on the shooting stage’ the boss read

Out a long speech. It was obvious that he too knew precious little about the poet (or the editor) the speech was all in the most general terms but here and there it was peppered with words like freedom. and democracy’ then the poet spoke’ he couldn’t have addressed a more dazed and silent audience-no one knew what he was talking about and his accent defeated

Any attempt to understand what he was saying. the whole thing lasted about an hour. then the poet left and we all dispersed in utter bafflement-what are we doing? what is an English poet doing in a film studio which makes Tamil films for the simplest sort of people

people whose lives least afforded them the possibility of cultivating a taste for English poetry? the poet looked pretty baffled too. for he too must have felt the sheer incongruity of his talk about the thrills and travails of an English poet. his visit remained an unexplained mystery.

The great prose-writers of the world may not admit. it but my conviction grows stronger day after day that prose-writing is not and cannot be the true pursuit of a genius. it is for the patient. persistent persevering drudge with a heart so Shrunken that nothing can break it,

Rejection slips don’t mean a thing to him. he at once sets about making a fresh copy of the long prose piece and sends it on to another editor enclosing postage for the return of the manuscript. it was for such people that the Hindu had published a tiny announcement in an insignificant corner of an unimportant page– a short story contest Organised by a British

Periodical by the name the Encounter. of course the encounter wasn’t a known commodity among the Gemini literati. I wanted to get an idea of the periodical before I spent a considerable sum in postage sending a manuscript.

To England. In those days the British Council Library had an entrance with no long winded signboards and notices to make you feel you were sneaking into a forbidden area. and there were copies of the encounter lying about in various degree of freshness, almost untouched by readers. when I read the editor’s name I heard a bell ringing in my Shrunken heart. it was the poet who had visited the Gemini Studios–felt like I had found a long lost brother

And I Sang as I sealed the envelope and wrote out his address. I felt that he too would be singing the same song at the same time — long lost brothers of Indian films discover each other by singing the same song in the first reel and in the final reel of the film. Stephen Spender Stephen …. that was his name.

Poets and pancakes class 12 summary

Particularly the writer has described the make-up department and the story department of the Gemini studios he first takes up the make-up department which was in the upstairs of a building it had the look of a hair cutting Salon. it was an example of national Integration pancake was the brand name of the make-up material used in the makeup of artists the writer comments that the make-up could turn any decent looking person into an ugly looking Crimson coloured monster.

The Writer’s Job was to cut newspaper Clippings on various topics and maintain a file of the same. he further tells about an office boy who was a man of forty years. he had various dreams in his eye According to hi, his talent was being wasted in the makeup department then, the writer talks about Kothamangalam Subbu (No.2) who was very talented as a poet, novelist actor and film maker. he was an all rounder and very loyal to boss. (Mr. Subramaniam Srinivasan)

Next, the writer talks about the story department. their department comprised a lawyer and a group of writers and poets .the lawyer was officially known as legal advisor. but everybody referred to him as the opposite. Everyone in the department wore a Khadi uniform but the legal advisor wore pants a tie and a coat-Mr Vasan was not satisfied white the performance of this department thus, it was closed down.

Gemini studio. was the favourite place for various poets. the men at the studios had a natural dislike for communism. when MRA (Moral Re-armament Army) visited Madras in 1952, it was welcomed by Gemini studio MRA presented two plays Jothan valley’ and the forgotten factor’ which were appreciated by the Gemini family of 6 hundred people. An English poet, Stephen spender who was an editor of a British magazine ‘ The Encounter came in Gemini studios. years later, when the writer was not the member of Gemini

Studios he bought books at reduced princes. one day he got a book titted the God that failed it had six essays written by six famous writers Stephen spender was also one of them. the writer. then came to know that the boss of the studios may not have much to do with spender’s poetry but he had nothing to do with Communism.

Poets and pancakes class 12 Question and Answer

Question:1 why did the legal adviser lose his job in the Gemini studios?

Answer” The legal adviser worked in the story department of the Gemini studios which was later closed by the boss. so in this way the legal adviser lost his job

Question:2 what do you understand by the fiery misery of those subjected to make up?

Answer” The makeup room was glowed by many incandescent lights which produced very fiery heat. Artists had to face that extreme heat as they had to sit there for makeup. they were Pitiful and could not do anything in this regard.

Question:3 what was the poet’s preconceived idea about communism?

Answer” The poet opined that the communists were heart-less and godless persons. they did not love their wife’ children as well as relatives they were always ready for violence and to tease the innocent people.

Question:4 who was Greta Garbo?

Answer” Greta Garbo was a Swedish actress who received honorary Oscar for her unforgettable screen Performances. Guide ness book of world Records named her the most beautiful woman who never lived and she was also voted best silent Actress of the country.

Question:5 what do you infer of Robert Clive from the text?

Answer” Robert Clive was Commander-in-chief of British India who owned many buildings in Madras and fought many battles and married a maiden in St. Mary’s Church in Fort. St. George in madras.

Question:6 what do you understand by national integration?

Answer” The national Integration is a combination which consists of each and every, many castes tribes and communities in it. National Integration is above than any of the religion or thinking and it unites various people from various places and cultures.

Question:7 what is a hierarchy?

Answer” Hierarchy is a process in which members of any of the organization or society are ranked according to relatives their, their status and authorities.

Question:8 what is the designation’s office boy signify?

Answer” The office boy is a person of no age limit who works in various offices and departments. he simply does the ordinary or menial tasks as fetching the coffee or drinks. filing introducing visitors to the office etc.

Question:9 what happened with Subbu’s literary achieve-ments?

Answer” Though, Subbu was a tailor made for films but he had a talent of poetry and writing novels later as his filmy career grew higher his literary talent and achievements were overshadowed. and dwarfed by his own success.

Question:10 what could be the reason of the shut of the story department?

Answer” The story department was comprised of many poets and writers and also a lawyer with them. but later, it was closed the possible reason for the shutting of the story department may be its uselessness or unbearable expenses or regular salary of the members and less output in return.

Poets and pancakes class 12 MCQ Question and Answer

Question:1 who was heading the make-up department ?

  1. Madrasi
  2. A tamilian
  3. bengali
  4. Bengali and later was succeeded by a Maharashtian

Answer (D) Bengali and later was succeeded by a Maharashtian

Question:2 why was Subbu a trouble shooter?

  1. because of his gossip style
  2. because of his flattery
  3. ability to mix up with everyone
  4. because of his problem resolving quality

Answer (D) because of his problem resolving quality

Question:3 when did MRA visit Madras?

  1. 1942
  2. 1922
  3. 1932
  4. 1952

Answer (D) 1952

Question:4 In this lesson, what is the purpose of humor and satire used by the author?

  1. To highlight human abilities
  2. To show capabilities
  3. To show varied capacities
  4. To show and highlight human infancies and flaws

Answer (d) show and highlight human infancies and flaws

Question:5 How was Kothamanglam Subbu treated in the Gemini studio?

  1. With hatred
  2. rudely
  3. Disrespectfully
  4. with high respect

Answers (d) with high respect

Question:6 why was the author praying for crowd shooting at all times?

  1. To attract the crowd
  2. To avoid people
  3. To avoid epical narrations
  4. None of the above

Answer(c) To avoid epical narrations

Question:7 why did everybody in the studio think of giving some work to the author ?

  1. because of the idle appearance of his work
  2. because he was an office boy
  3. because he was a helper
  4. None of the above

Answer (a) because of the idle appearance of his work

Question:8 what was MRA ?

  1. British Army
  2. The Moral Rearmament Army-a counter movement International communism
  3. a wing of Indian Army
  4. A Drama company

Answer (B) The Moral Rearmament Army-a counter movement International communism

Question:9 who was the Englishman?

  1. Salman Rushdie
  2. D.H Lawrence
  3. George Orwell
  4. Stephen Spender-Editor of a British Periodical the Encounter

Answer (D) Stephen Spender-Editor of a British Periodical the Encounter

Question:10 For whom was Gemini studio making films?

  1. For English people
  2. For illiterate
  3. For elderly people
  4. For simple Tamilians who have no interest in English poetry .

Answer (D) For simple Tamilians who have no interest in English poetry


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