He was woken by noises. A crowd outside; he could hear them chanting. Were they praises? He smiled and turned around in his bed. The starlet was nowhere to be found. Her clothes were gone too.
He thought about the previous night and smiled. They all came to him as favours, from people to whom he mattered. The starlets were of course promised something big.
He rarely saw them again; neither in person nor on the big screen.
He took out a cigar – a specially imported cigar from some South American country whose name he couldn’t recollect – and lit it. Taking a deep puff, he reached for his mobile phone. He had missed 13 calls, all from the same person.
The gathering outside was swelling, kept outside his property by a small force of lathi wielding policemen. The huge crowd looked little compared to the giant hoardings opposite the palatial bungalow announcing a new multi-million dollar movie, touted to be the most expensive in the world ever.
The mob was growing impatient. A few people standing at the edge of the crowd were already leaving the scene. All they wanted was a glimpse of their star. They adored him. They loved his propaganda-laced dialogues in films. He had recently floated a political party. Politics was the next step for any popular actor in the film-crazy subcontinent.
One among the crowd shouted the one-liner from his latest movie where he not so subtly discredited the current chief minister. The crowd cheered wildly!
The phone rang.
“Sir, we have this meeting with your fan clubs at 10. It is extremely vital for the upcoming elections. Then we have a promotion for the movie. We can’t afford to be late for both.”
“Who sent the girl last night?”
“Um... The producer who wants to make his next film with you...”
“Can I see her again?”
“I will ask, Sir.”
Draped in a white coloured shirt and veshti complete with sacred ash on his forehead, he walked to the balcony, took a deep breath and stepped out.
The crowd erupted into a joyous roar.
“Prime Minister of the future!” someone shouted and the crowd erupted again.
He smiled, raised his hand and waved.
The crowd went berserk with screams of joy.
published 18 April 2012