Mastering ‘Poets and Pancakes’ in Class 12: Essential Questions and Answers

Unlock the secrets of 'Poets and Pancakes' in Class 12 English with our comprehensive guide. Explore essential questions and answers, and boost your exam preparation for success. Dive into the world of poetry effortlessly!

poets and pancakes class 12 english questions answers

SubjectEnglish Language & Literature
Chapter NamePoets and Pancakes
TypeImportant Questions and Answers
Book NameFlamingo Chapter 6

"Only you can Change your life, no one can do it for you...."

Poets and Pancakes Class 12 English Important Questions & Answers

Q. No. 1) Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

i. ‘In any case, there was this man in the make-up department who would wish the direst things for Subbu’. Here ‘direst things’ refers to something that is

a. urgent.

b. desperate.

c. disastrous.

d. dreadful.

Ans. Option (d)

ii. Pick the quote that best describes Subbu’s role in Gemini Studios based on the story.

  1. Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.
  2. The more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes.
  3. Success is not about your resources. It’s about how resourceful you are with what you have.
  4. Resourcefulness: Seeing where you want to go and taking the first step.

a. Option 1

b. Option 2

c. Option 3

d. Option 4

Ans. Option (c)

iii. ‘An extremely talented actress, who was also extremely temperamental, once blew over on the sets’.

Pick the idiom that matches best with ‘blew over’.

a. At one’s wit's end

b. Get bent out of shape

c. Have the blues

d. Experience pins and needles

Ans. Option (b)

iv. ‘Often he looked alone and helpless- a man of cold logic in a crowd of dreamers…’. It can be inferred that the man

a. rationalized every thought before it was spoken.

b. failed to consider human emotions and social dynamics.

c. was critical of what others did around him.

d. egoistic and always thought others lacked reason.

Ans. Option (b)

Q. No. 2) Multiple Choice Questions based on an extract.

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 diction and also wrote a sprawling novel Thillana Mohanambal with dozens 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 dozens of near and far relations and acquaintances.

i. Which of these statements is NOT TRUE about Subbu?

a. His literary accomplishments stole the limelight from his films.

b. He was a gifted poet and writer and his literary works were noteworthy.

c. He was selfless in nature and was empathetic towards others.

d. He never hankered after lead roles and performed minor roles in films.

Ans. Option (a)

ii. The word ‘sprawling’ has been used with the word ‘novel’. Pick the option with which the word ‘sprawling’ CANNOT be used.

a. metropolis

b. handwriting

c. campus

d. portrait

Ans. Option (d)

iii. The phrase ‘deftly etched’ shows that Subbu

a. created the roles delicately.

b. was skillful in creating the characters.

c. pondered beyond necessity about the characters.

d. gave very little thought to the characters.

Ans. Option (b)

iv. Pick the option that best describes Subbu according to the extract.

  1. benevolent
  2. powerful
  3. accomplished
  4. witty
  5. generous
  6. temperamental

a. 4, 5 & 6

b. 2, 3 & 4

c. 1, 3 & 5

d. 3, 4 & 6

Ans. Option (c)

Q. No. 3) Multiple Choice Questions based on an extract.

A girl from the countryside, she hadn’t gone through all the stages 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 adviser, who was also a member of the Story Department, had unwittingly brought about that sad end. While every other member of the Department wore a kind of uniform — khadi dhoti with a slightly oversized and clumsily tailored white khadi shirt — the legal adviser wore pants and a tie and sometimes a coat that looked like a coat of mail. Often, he looked alone and helpless …

i. Select the option that completes the given sentence appropriately.

‘Stages of worldly experience’ in the given context would refer to _____.

a. good education to gain knowledge.

b. situations that require one to be street smart.

c. smaller, not-so-important roles in acting.

d. training in soft skills.

Ans. Option (b)

ii. Select the suitable word from the extract to complete the following analogy:

sealed: closed :: propelled: _____.

Ans. catapulted

iii. Select the correct option to fill in the blank.

The harm done to the actress was a/an _____.

a. well-planned act.

b. unintentional act.

c. act of jealousy.

d. act of male dominance.

Ans. Option (b)

iv. Based on the above extract, choose the statement that is TRUE for the legal adviser.

a. He disliked the actress from the countryside.

b. He acted after thinking through things carefully.

c. He did not gel well with others in the Department.

d. He was always dressed smartly.

Ans. (c)

v. Identify the textual clue that allows the reader to infer that the writer is sympathetic towards the professional fate of the actor. (Clue: a phrase)

Ans. Sad end

vi. Complete the sentence with an appropriate explanation, as per the extract.

The writer uses the word ‘uniform’ to refer to the outfits of the Department members because just like a uniform _____.

Ans. ... is a common dress code for all, similarly, their apparel/ dress was nearly the same - loose khadi shirt and khadi dhoti.

Q. No. 4) Multiple Choice Questions based on an extract.

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 any 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.

i. Pick the option that uses the same figure of speech as ‘A communist is a godless man.’

a. She is as determined as Gandhi when it is a fight against injustice.

b. She is a Gandhi when she raises her voice against ‘hinsa’ or violence.

c. She, like Gandhi, feels that the earth is crying for deliverance.

d. She lives a life of opulence and calls herself a follower of Gandhi.

Ans. Option (b)

ii. Based on the extract, choose the correct option with reference to the two statements given below.

  • Statement 1: At Gemini Studios, the poets had a profound knowledge of Communists.
  • Statement 2: Communists were responsible for anarchy and discontent in the country.

a. Statement 1 is true but Statement 2 is false.

b. Statement 1 is false but Statement 2 is true.

c. Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 cannot be inferred.

d. Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 can be inferred.

Ans. Option (d)

iii. Why do you think leisure is a prerequisite for poetry?

a. Poetry means freedom of expression.

b. One can enjoy poetry when there’s free time.

c. In order to write poetry, one needs free time.

d. Poetry means freedom from work.

Ans. Option (c)

iv. Asokamitran says that leisure is a prerequisite for poetry. He says this because poets

a. need to relax for a period of time before composing lines.

b. maintain a leisurely pace in all tasks they do.

c. are creative and need to have free time to weave their thoughts.

d. begin poetic compositions in a rushed way and end in a relaxed manner.

Ans. Option (c)

Q. No. 5) What does the writer mean by ‘the fiery misery’ of those subjected to make-up’?

Ans. When the writer mentions "the fiery misery" of those subjected to make-up, he is referring to the discomfort experienced by actors and actresses during the makeup process in the hot and intense lighting of the make-up room. The heat from the incandescent lights, combined with the application of makeup, creates a physically uncomfortable and possibly sweaty experience for the performers.

Q. No. 6) What work did the ‘office boy’ do in the Gemini Studios? Why did he join the studios? Why was he disappointed?

Ans. The "office boy" in Gemini Studios worked in the make-up department. His role primarily involved applying makeup to crowd actors during crowd-shooting days. He joined the studios with hopes of becoming a star actor, screenwriter, director, or lyrics writer. However, he was disappointed as he ended up in a less glamorous role, working behind the scenes in the make-up department and never achieving his aspirations in the film industry.

Q. No. 7) Discuss the significance of the make-up room in the chapter, ‘Poets and Pancakes’.

Ans. In the chapter "Poets and Pancakes," the make-up room at Gemini Studios holds significant importance for several reasons:

  1. Transforming Actors: The make-up room was a crucial part of the filmmaking process, as it was where actors and actresses underwent dramatic transformations. The make-up artists used products like "Pancake" to change the appearance of the performers, often making them look drastically different from their real selves. This transformation was essential for creating convincing characters on-screen, highlighting the studio's commitment to producing quality films.
  2. Reflection of Studio Culture: The description of the make-up room provides insight into the culture and working environment at Gemini Studios. It depicts a busy and bustling atmosphere where artists and technicians collaborate to achieve the desired look for each character. This reflects the studio's dedication to its craft and the meticulous attention to detail required in the filmmaking process.
  3. Hierarchy and Roles: The make-up department had a strict hierarchy, with different artists responsible for various actors and actresses. The author humorously highlights the division of labor, with the chief make-up artist working on lead roles and the office boy handling crowd actors. This hierarchy underscores the structured nature of film production and the importance of every team member's role, regardless of how minor it may seem.
  4. Use of Pancake: The mention of "Pancake" as the brand name of the make-up material used at Gemini Studios hints at the studio's reliance on certain products and techniques. Pancake was a well-known makeup brand, and its usage in large quantities underscores the studio's commitment to achieving the desired appearance for its actors. It also reflects the industry's reliance on established makeup products.
  5. National Integration: The make-up department at Gemini Studios employed individuals from various regions and backgrounds, showcasing a form of national integration within the studio. This diversity among makeup artists reflects the cosmopolitan nature of the film industry and how people from different parts of India came together to contribute to the world of cinema.

Q. No. 8) ‘In all instances of frustration, you will always find the anger directed towards a single person openly or covertly…’

Do you think it is right to direct our anger towards someone who is not responsible for the cause of anger? Justify.

Ans. It is not always right to direct anger towards someone who is not responsible for the cause of anger. Misdirected anger can lead to misunderstandings and further conflicts. It's important to address the root cause of frustration rather than projecting it onto innocent individuals, promoting healthier communication and conflict resolution.

Q. No. 9) Why was the legal adviser referred to as the opposite by others?

Ans. The legal adviser in Gemini Studios was humorously referred to as "the opposite" because while his official title was "legal adviser," he was known for taking actions that seemed contrary to his role. For example, he discreetly recorded an actress's outburst, which had unintended consequences for her, leading to her disillusionment with her acting career. This behavior contrasted with the expectations associated with his legal role.

Q. No. 10) The author of 'Poets and Pancakes' is extremely observant of people and their behavior. Support this statement with an example of a description he gives us about any one of the characters.

Ans. The author of "Poets and Pancakes," Asokamitran, indeed demonstrates keen observational skills when describing Kothamangalam Subbu, a prominent figure at Gemini Studios. He portrays Subbu as a multifaceted character with insight and depth. Asokamitran highlights Subbu's unwavering loyalty to the studio and his uncanny ability to come up with creative solutions for film scenes. Despite Subbu's success in the film industry, the author also suggests that his generosity and readiness to say positive things about everything might have earned him some detractors. Asokamitran's astute observations reveal not only Subbu's professional attributes but also the complexities of human nature, adding depth and authenticity to the narrative.

Q. No. 11) What kind of effect does Asokamitran’s style of writing have on the reader?

Ans. Asokamitran's writing style in 'Poets and Pancakes' has a vivid and immersive effect on the reader. His meticulous descriptions and keen observations of characters and settings draw readers into the world of the story, making them feel like silent observers. This style enhances the reader's connection with the narrative and the characters, making the story more engaging and relatable.

Q. No. 12) Name one example to show that Gemini Studios was influenced by the plays staged by MRA.

Ans. One example of Gemini Studios being influenced by the plays staged by the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) group is the mention in the text that after the MRA group's visit to Madras and their successful plays, almost all Tamil plays began to incorporate scenes featuring sunrises and sunsets in the style of the MRA plays. This demonstrates the impact of the MRA's theatrical productions on the style and themes of Tamil plays produced by Gemini Studios.

Q. No. 13) Why is the Englishman’s visit referred to as an unexplained mystery?

Ans. The Englishman's visit to Gemini Studios is referred to as an "unexplained mystery" because the author and the staff at the studio couldn't comprehend the purpose or relevance of his visit. His speech left the audience baffled because it seemed out of place in a Tamil film studio, and the author and others were puzzled as to why he was addressing them. The visit lacked a clear explanation or connection to the studio's work, making it a perplexing and enigmatic event.

Q. No. 14) The people were left in ‘utter bafflement’ after the English poet’s speech.

Mention two things the speaker could have kept in mind before addressing an audience to avoid such a reaction. Give your rationale for it.

Ans. The English poet could have avoided leaving the audience in 'utter bafflement' by:

  1. Clarity of Content: Ensuring that the content of the speech is clear, concise, and relevant. This would prevent confusion and help the audience understand the message.
  2. Audience Awareness: Considering the background and knowledge level of the audience, tailoring the speech accordingly. This would ensure that the content is relatable and comprehensible to the listeners, reducing the chances of bafflement.

Q. No. 15) What does Asokamitran's narrative in Poets and Pancakes demonstrate about Subbu?


  • He was a hardworking man because there were no properly established studios and film companies when he started out.
  • He was imaginative because he could come up with numerous innovative ways of performing the same scene.
  • He was immensely helpful to his friends and acquaintances.
  • He was a celebrated poet who chose to dedicate his poetry to the masses.

Q. No. 16) What does the story of Subbu's success in the film industry reveal about the importance of loyalty, creativity, and versatility in this field?

Ans. Subbu's success in the film industry reveals that loyalty, creativity, and versatility are essential qualities for success in this field –

  • Subbu was an extremely loyal employee who identified himself completely with his principal and turned his entire creativity to his principal's advantage.
  • He was also a highly versatile and creative person who could be inspired to come up with numerous alternatives when given a problem to solve.
  • Additionally, he had the ability to work well with others and was tailor-made for the film industry. These qualities made him an invaluable asset to Gemini Studios during its golden years.

Q. No. 17) What does The God that Failed refer to?

Ans. "The God That Failed" refers to a collection of essays written by six prominent writers who had at one point been associated with or sympathetic to communism but later became disillusioned with it. In their essays, these writers describe their journeys into communism and their subsequent rejection of it due to various reasons. The book explores the loss of faith in the communist ideology, which had once held great promise for them but ultimately failed to deliver on its ideals.

Q. No. 18) Author has used gentle and subtle humor to point out human foibles and idiosyncrasies in the lesson ' Poets and Pancakes'. Elucidate.

Ans. In 'Poets and Pancakes,' the author employs gentle and subtle humor to highlight human foibles and idiosyncrasies through various instances:

  1. Robert Clive's Ambitions: The portrayal of Robert Clive's ambitions and restless nature is subtly humorous, emphasizing his desire for recognition and importance.
  2. Office Boy's Boasting: The office boy's boasting about his talent is brought out humorously, showcasing his exaggerated self-importance.
  3. Legal Adviser's Opposite Nature: The contrast with the legal adviser, who is known as the opposite, adds a layer of humor by playing on the idea of duality.
  4. Use of Pancake: The use of pancake ostensibly to cover the pores is comical, reflecting the absurdity of the beauty rituals.
  5. "Gang of Nationally Integrated Make-Up Men": The term used to describe the makeup artists as a 'gang of nationally integrated make-up men' humorously underscores the dramatic transformation they can achieve.
  6. Strict Hierarchy: The strict hierarchy within the makeup room is subtly amusing, reflecting the absurdity of the power dynamics in such a setting.
  7. Ridiculing Subbu's Virtue: The author ridicules Subbu's virtue of being a Brahmin, subtly pointing out his inefficiency with the comment that "he always had work for somebody."
  8. Subbu's Alternatives: The rapidity with which Subbu offers alternatives when his boss gets stuck is amusing, highlighting his eagerness to please.
  9. People's Ignorance: The author pokes fun at the ignorance of the people who did not know who Stephen Spenders was or why he had arrived, highlighting the disconnect between the poets and their audience.

Overall, these instances of gentle and subtle humor serve to expose the quirks and shortcomings of the characters while adding a lighthearted tone to the narrative.

Q. No. 19) Imagine Asokamitran witnesses a film shooting and visits a film set of present-day Bollywood. As Asokamitran writes a diary entry penning down the transformation you notice between the film-making of yesteryears and today.


Dear Diary,

Today, I had the opportunity to witness a film shooting on a contemporary Bollywood film set, and I couldn't help but marvel at the transformation that has taken place in the world of filmmaking since my time.

In my era, filmmaking was a more intimate affair. The equipment was bulky, and the sets were often constrained by practical limitations. Actors had to be precise, and retakes were costly. But today, it's a different world altogether. The sets are grand, almost like a mini-city, with advanced technology that can create any backdrop imaginable.

Actors seem to have more liberty to experiment, with multiple takes available without the burden of additional expenses. The precision and detailing in every shot are remarkable, thanks to digital cinematography. There's also a refreshing diversity in storytelling and casting, which was limited in my time.

However, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of nostalgia for the simplicity of yesteryears. The personal touch and the charm of the past seem to have given way to a more commercialized and fast-paced industry. Nonetheless, the evolution of Bollywood is a testament to the dynamism of art, and I'm grateful to have witnessed this transformation.

Yours faithfully,

Q. No. 20) After reading this story, you are impressed by the author’s use of gentle humor to point out human foibles. Evaluate whether using such humor contributes towards bringing about change in people’s attitudes and accepting their foibles.

Ans. The author's use of gentle humor in "Poets and Pancakes" indeed contributes to highlighting human foibles in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Gentle humor, when employed skillfully, can be a powerful tool to make people reflect on their own flaws and idiosyncrasies without feeling attacked or defensive. It creates a non-threatening atmosphere, allowing readers to recognize the absurdity in human behavior.

By showcasing the quirks and shortcomings of the characters in the story, the author encourages readers to introspect and perhaps even relate to these foibles on a personal level. This self-awareness can be a catalyst for change in people's attitudes and behaviors. It fosters a sense of empathy and a willingness to accept one's own imperfections and those of others.

In essence, gentle humor acts as a mirror that reflects human nature, and when people see themselves in that reflection, they may be more inclined to embrace their foibles with a sense of humor and humility. It can promote a healthier, more accepting attitude towards the quirks and imperfections that make us all uniquely human.

Also Read:
Class 12 Important Questions and Answers
Class 12 Notes

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