The chief asked me to interview a typical Hindi film star and find out from him what he was doing now that he does not have any roles to perform. So I went through my list of film stars and decided to meet Mr. Amitabh Bachchan.
Mr. Bachchan was sitting in his drawing-room, dressed like a railway porter. "Namaste, Mr. Bachchan," I said, "I would like to interview you on what you are doing now that there is a strike on and you are not acting."
"If you are from Stardust, I am not giving any interviews," Mr. Bachchan said.
I assured him I was not from Stardust or any other film magazine, then, taking out pad and pen, I asked: "Now then, tell me how do you pass your time, since, in view of the strike, you do not act any more, and, in any case, you do not make any speeches in parliament."
Mr. Bachchan went in for a minute, then came out dressed like a police officer with long hair. "I spend a lot of my time looking after my constituency. A lot of people in Bombay do not realise that there is an acute shortage of drinking water in Allahahad."
"Yes," I said. "But tell me, being a creative person and an artiste, like Mr. Dilip Kumar, don't you occasionally have this urge to act. What do you do then?"
Mr. Bachchan went in again, changed his police uniform and came out dressed as an Indian cowboy, riding a motorcycle with a side-car (his house is big enough for him to ride a motorcyle in it or drive a Maruti, though nothing bigger than a Maruti). "I have meetings with the prime minister occasionally and present the film industry's case to him. But most of the time it is our wives who meet."
"That' nice," I said. "But, Mr. Bachchan, if I could have something more solid to write about. For instance, are you looking forward to the time when through your efforts, the dispute with the Maharashtra government will be solved, and you will return to your first love of acting?"
Mr. Bachchan, dressed like a young lover with extra-long legs, then led me into the garden, where he ran round and round a tree. "I am putting in all my efforts to get the strike settled so that not only I but even Sunil Duttji can act again. I have therefore written a letter to the action committee, extending my full support."
"Thank you," I said. And, as I was leaving I saw him dressing like a woman, in a sari.
So when I returned to the office and the chief asked me how did it go, I told him: "think all the stars are living in there past."