NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 6: Poets and Pancakes

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Chapter6. Poets and Pancakes
TextbookFlamingo, Prose
CategoryNCERT Solutions for Class 12

The NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English are an excellent choice for students preparing for their board or any competitive exams. These solutions are made by expert teachers and faculties of English. Class 12 English Solutions, made by NCERTian, will help students understand the central theme of each chapter. They will strengthen your foundation in English and help you score good marks in the board examination. On this page, we have provided you with the Solutions of Flamingo Prose Chapter 6 – Poets and Pancakes.

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 6

Poets and Pancakes Solutions

Think As You Read

Q1) What does the writer mean by ‘the fiery misery’ of those subjected to make-up?

Answer) The writer means the misery caused by the incandescent lights that poured out intense heat. The make-up room of the Gemini Studios had bright bulbs in the room full of large mirrors that reflected the glowing lights. Under such blazing heat make-up was done.

Q2) What is the example of national integration that the author refers to?

Answer) The make-up team and also those who came and went were from different states. It was headed by a Bengali and next in hierarchy was a Maharashtrian, assisted by an Andhraite, a Madras Indian Christian, an Anglo-Burmese and other local Tamils. It was truly a gang of nationally integrated make-up men.

Q3) What work did the ‘office boy’ do in the Gemini Studios? Why did he join the studios? Why was he disappointed?

Answer) The office boy applied make-up to the crowds, mixing his paint in a giant vessel and slapping it on the crowd players. He had joined the studios in the hope of becoming a star actor or a top screen writer, director or lyrics writer. He was a bit of a poet. He was disappointed as he was placed low even in the hierarchy of make-up men.

Q4) Why did the author appear to be doing nothing at the studios?

Answer) The author’s job 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 in hand. Seeing him sitting at his desk and tearing up newspapers most people thought he had nothing to do at the studios.

Think As You Read

Q1) Why was the office boy frustrated? Who did he show his anger on?

Answer) The office boy was frustrated because his hopes of making big in the movie world failed. He vent his anger and frustration on Kothamangalam Subbu, the No. 2 in the studios, whom he held responsible for his dishonour and neglect.

Q2) Who was Subbu’s principal?

Answer) S.S. Vasan, the founder of Gemini Studios, was the boss and Subbu’s Principal in the studios. Subbu had a great loyalty to him. This made him identify himself with his principal completely. He turned his entire creativity to his principal’s advantage.

Q3) Subbu is described as a many-sided genius. List four of his special abilities.

Answer) Subbu was a many-sided genius. He was born a Brahmin. It is a virtue in itself as it exposed him to more affluent situations and people. Second, he had the ability to look cheerful at all times. Third, he always had work for somebody. Fourth, he had great loyalty to his principal, S.S. Vasan, the Boss.

Q4) Why was the legal adviser referred to as the opposite by others?

Answer) The lawyer was the only one at the studios who wore pants, tie and sometimes a coat, unlike others who wore khadi dhoti and shirt. His job was to give support and advise on problems, but in fact he created problems. He brought the career of a brilliant actress to an end by terrorizing her. He was rightly called an illegal adviser.

Q5) What made the lawyer stand out from the others at Gemini Studios?

Answer) The lawyer wore pants, a tie and sometimes a coat, while all wore khadi dhoti and white khadi shirt. He looked alone and helpless. He was a man of cold logic in a crowd of dreamers. He was a neutral man among Gandhiites and Khadiites.

Think As You Read

Q1) Did the people at Gemini Studios have any particular political affiliations?

Answer) The people at Gemini Studios wore Khadi and worshipped Gandhi, but beyond that they had no particular political interests or understanding. They only had opinions on communism, which they loathed and looked down on communists. They considered communists as heartless atheists who are devoid of emotions. They went about letting loose anarchy in the society.

Q2) Why was the Moral Re-Armament Army welcomed at Gemini Studios?

Answer) The Moral Re-Armament Army was invited to stage two plays, which were more like plain homilies ‘ (sermons/lectures) for the Gemini family. It was discovered only later that the group was part of the movement countering international communism and Vasan had invited them under the influence of his political interests.

Q3) Name one example to show that Gemini Studios was influenced by the plays staged by MRA?

Answer) MRA staged two plays ‘Jotham Valley’ and ‘The Forgotten Factor’. Their high quality costumes and well made sets earned a lot of admiration. Their sunrise and sunset scene impressed them so much that all Tamil plays started reproducing the scene with a bare stage, a white background curtain and a tune playing on the flute.

Q4) Who was the Boss of Gemini Studios?

Answer) Mr. S.S. Vasan, the founder of Gemini Studios was the Boss. Apart from producing films, he was an editor of a popular Tamil weekly ‘Ananda Vikatan’. He was a great admirer of scholarly people. Subbu seemed to enjoy an intimate relationship with him. Mr. Vasan is projected as a bit of showman here.

Q5) What caused the lack of communication between the Englishman and the people at Gemini Studios?

Answer) The Englishman’s speech was peppered with words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ and the Gemini family had no political interests, so they were dazed and a silent audience. Also, the Englishman’s accent was difficult to understand, because of which all communication had failed. He was basically a poet and that made no sense to the people whose life centered around a film studio.

Q6) Why was the Englishman’s visit referred to as unexplained mystery?

Answer) The Englishman was a poet whose name was not familiar. In his speech he talked about the thrills and travails of an English poet, which made no sense for the simple people at Gemini Studios who had had no exposure other than films and so they were not interested. These simple people had neither taste for English poetry nor political interests. Hence, his visit is referred to as an unexplained mystery.

Think As You Read

Q1) Who was the English visitor to the studios?

Answer) The English visitor to the studios was poet Stephen Spender, editor of British periodical ‘The Encounter’.

Q2) How did the author discover who the English visitor to the studio was?

Answer) The author discovered his identity by reading his name on the pages of ‘The Encounter’ in the British Council Library. He also knew about him from the paperback edition of the book The God That Failed.

Q3) What does The God That Failed refer to?

Answer) The God That Failed refers to a book that was a compilation of six essays by six eminent men. It was a low priced student edition released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It dealt with the author’s disillusionment with communism.

Understanding the text

Q1) The author has used gentle humour to point out human foibles. Pick out instances of this to show how this serves to make the piece interesting?

Answer) ‘Poets and Pancakes’ has an underlying tone of humour which is satirical and has been deployed by the author to point out human foibles. It is mainly manifested in his description of the make-up room people.

The make-up room, he says, was in a building that had once been the stables of Robert Clive. He further makes fun of the make-up team that slapped make-up. Ironically, the make-up turned any normal man into a hideous monster, far from being presentable. He also refers to the fiery misery of the actors when their make-up was done under the bright bulbs, large mirrors reflecting blazing heat. His description of Subbu’s No. 2 position in Gemini Studios, the frustration of the office boy and the opposite role played by the legal adviser in the acting career of a countryside girl are humorously dealt with but effectively bring out the flaws in the set-up.

The showmanship of the boss and what influences his guest list point out human weaknesses in a light-hearted manner. The humour is at its peak in the description of the visit of Stephen Spender. S.S. Vasan’s reading a long speech in his honour but he too knew precious little about him. Spender’s accent is highly unintelligible. Then the author’s establishing long lost brother’s relationship with the English visitor is also funny and humorous. All these slight digs at human foibles tickle in us humour.

Q2) Why was Kothamangaiam Subbu considered No. 2 in Gemini Studios?

Answer) Kothamangaiam Subbu was on the attendance roll with the story department and was No. 2 at Gemini Studios not by virtue of any merit, but because he was a Brahmin with affluent exposure. He was cheerful and had a sense of loyalty that placed him close to the Boss. He was quick to delegate work to others. As if tailor-made for films, sparks of his creativity showed in his suggestions on how to create shots. He composed poetry, scripted a story and a novel. He gave direction and definition to Gemini Studios during its golden years. He performed in a subsidiary role better than the main players. He had a genuine love for his relatives and near and dear ones. His extravagant hospitality was popular among his relatives and acquaintances, probably that is why he had enemies.

Q3) How does the author describe the incongruity of an English poet addressing the audience at Gemini Studios?

Answer) The Gemini Studios witnessed a surprising visit by a tall Englishman who was proclaimed to be a poet. The welcome speech by the Boss was delivered in the most general terms, which only showed that even the Boss did not know much about him. The poet talked about the thrill and travails of an English poet which made no sense to the simple people at Gemini Studios. They had no exposure other than films and so, they were not interested. Also, words like democracy and freedom that featured in his speech held no interest for them as they had no political thought or interests. Moreover, the Englishman’s accent was difficult to understand, because of which all communications failed. He was basically a poet and that made no sense to the people whose life centred round a film studio. Therefore, his visit remained an unexplained mystery for much time.

Q4) What do you understand about the author’s literary inclinations from the account?

Answer) The author, Asokamitran, was entrusted with the job of maintaining the newspaper clippings of movies and other articles. Though to others, who just saw him tearing papers, he appeared to be doing nothing, the job kept the author well informed. Also, there prevailed an intellectual environment to some extent because the poets and script writers used to hang out there in the mess that served coffee any time of the day. The author would pick up fifty paisa copies of journals from the footpath and took part in the poetry writing competition. He actually read essays ‘The God Who Failed’ to know more about the poet Stephen Spender. All these are evidence that he had some literary taste.

Talking about the Text

Q1) Discuss in small groups taking off from points in the text.

  • Film-production today has come a long way from the early days of the Gemini Studios.
  • Poetry and films.
  • Humour and criticism.


  1. Film production is more technical nowadays. While earlier only five per cent of the shooting was done outdoors, nowadays outdoor shooting is no more limited to such a negligible percentage. The cameras and other equipments are more advanced allowing for more varied and accurate presentation. The quality of make-up has improved many folds from the days of the Gemini Studios where only pancake was used. The people involved in various departments are experts in their specialized work, be it the director, producer, scriptwriter, lyricist or the actors. The overall quality of the films is more striking and lively.
  2. In India poetry and films are intricately linked. The people at Gemini Studios, all claimed to have the talents of a poet. The main reason behind it was their monotonous and leisurely life at the studios. However, these people were not knowledgeable or educated enough to be poets. Unlike poetry, films can be enjoyed by people with little resources who cannot afford to cultivate taste for poetry and literature.
  3. The story is interspersed with instances dipped in subtle humour. The humorous instances, however, make interesting and relevant comments on the behavior of general people. A humorous story has more readers, a humorous film more viewers. This is because they provide entertainment and a respite from the tedious existence. Criticism by means of humour is more effective, hence writers and film-makers often use humorous elements in their works and make sarcastic comments and criticism.

That’s it. These were the solutions of NCERT Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 6 – Poets and Pancakes. Our team hopes that you have found these solutions helpful for you. If you have any doubt related to this chapter then feel free to comment your doubts below. Our team will try their best to help you with your doubts.

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