In the lesson, Poet and Pancakes, the author talks about the Gemini Studios situated in the present day Chennai, owned by S.S. Vaasan.
Important Question and Answers
Q. What does the writer mean by ‘the fiery misery’ of those subjected to make-up’?
Ans. The make-up room of Gemini Studios looked like a hair cutting salon. It had around half a dozen mirrors with incandescent lights at all angles around them. The artists would feel the heat coming from these lights. Thus, the writer uses the term ‘fiery misery’ to denote the uncomfortable situation of those subjected to make-up.
Q. What is the example of national integration that the author refers to?
Ans. The division of the Gemini Studios’ makeup room was an example of national integration. According to the author, this is so because people from different regions and religions worked together in that department. The department had hierarchy system. The department was headed by a Bengali who was succeeded by a Maharashtrian. The other helpers included a Dharwar Kannadiga, an Andhra, a Madras Indian Christian, an AngloBurmese and the local Tamils.
Q. Why did the author appear to be doing nothing at the studios?
Ans. The job of the author was to cut newspaper clippings and file them. For the other employees, all he seemed to be doing is tearing newspapers, which according to them did not qualify as work. Therefore, they often considered him free and available for their miscellaneous work.
Q. Why was the office boy frustrated? Who did he show his anger on?
Ans. The office boy had joined the studio years ago in the hope of becoming an actor or a screenwriter, or a director, or a lyricist. The fact that he ended up becoming none of these left him frustrated. According to him, “great literary talent was being allowed to go waste in a department fit only for barbers and perverts”. He used to direct his anger at the author even though it was meant for Kothamangalam Subbu.
Q. Why was the legal adviser referred to as the opposite by others?
Ans. A lawyer used to be a part of the Story Department at the Gemini Studios. Though, as a legal adviser, he was supposed to be involved in legal matters, his cagey yet stupid idea led to the end of an actress’s career. Due to this, he was referred to as the illegal advisor, by the people.
Q. Name one example to show that Gemini Studios was influenced by the plays staged by MRA.
Ans. Madras and Tamil drama community included scenes of ‘sunset and sunrise in the manner of Jotham Valley’ in almost all of their plays. This shows how the plays, staged by MRA, influenced Gemini Studios.
Q. What caused the lack of communication between the Englishman and the people at Gemini Studios? Why is the Englishman’s visit referred to as unexplained mystery?
Ans. The accent of Stephen Spender, the Englishman, was the main cause of the lack of communication between him and the people at Gemini Studios. Apart from that, the people did not have any idea about what he was talking. The Englishman’s visit to the Gemini Studios is referred to as an unexplained mystery because no one could decipher his identity, whether he was a poet or an editor. Besides, when he spoke no one at the studio understood what he intended to say as his accent was beyond their comprehension.
Q. What do you understand about the author’s literary inclinations?
Ans. Though the author had a very tedious and unchallenging job at the studios, his interest in literature and writing is apparent in his willingness to participate in the short story contest organised by the British periodical, The Encounter. Moreover, the author appears to be a keen reader visiting libraries and buying books on wide-ranging topics whenever he could afford them. Besides, the narrative also establishes the fact that the author was one of the most knowledgeable persons in Gemini Studios. His idea about how prose writing was not meant for geniuses but for those with patience and perseverance, highlight his reflective and deep thoughts on literature and creative writing.