As soon as he saw the television screen, Mumtaz knew what was in store this Monday morning.
The Star would storm into the office in a few minutes, scream for a black coffee and lock himself up in the corner cubicle, where he would smoke a joint to calm himself.
‘Coke for energy, weed to suck out excess energy’ he had once told Mumtaz. ‘What kind of a man is named Mumtaz?’ The Star had asked after smoking a joint. ‘Parents confused your gender?’ he had laughed a calm laugh. ’Well, you are the closest I will get to a female manager.’
Mumtaz had remained silent.
Today, the television channels were at it again. Flashing The Star’s tweets on screen, calling him a sell-out. The Star would follow the rehearsed script, end the day in the same corner cubicle with a joint in his hands and drooping eyes.
Mumtaz had been ‘managing’ The Star for about two decades now. Only off-late had The Star become unmanageable.
A manager is a glorified assistant, Mumtaz’s wife always said. ‘Except, the manager is powerful enough to have full control over a star’s schedule. Someone whose net worth is over a 1000 crores’ Mumtaz retorted. ‘Ten billion rupees, my dear’
It was true. The first 10 years that Mumtaz worked for The Star, he had full control over The Star’s schedule. He influenced The Star’s choice of project at a given time and had a say in how much to charge for acting in a film. All his professional calls were routed through Mumtaz.
Gradually, The Star was omitted from award functions, his films made less money than some of his earlier flops and producers began dodging his calls.
As The Star’s ‘market’ shrunk, Mumtaz felt his role diminish in the fading Star’s life.