Our famously eccentric producer kept aspiring actresses waiting in the lobby to audition (too busy smoking imported cigars). His room was heated like a furnace filled with cigar smoke, scant lighting, and a luxurious couch. Nora’s lips twitched; Szu chewed nails; Sasha smiled at imaginary cameras, pouted occasionally. When he called over the intercom, I sent Nora in. She rushed out, fumbled with her blouse, slammed the door. Szu lasted no longer, stormed past cursing under her breath. Sasha was different. The couch creaked for an hour before she emerged, cast as the vestal virgin in his next epic period blockbuster.
By Mandira Pattnaik