"Do you remember me?" asked former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.
For once, even the articulate Amitabh Bachchan was tongue-tied.
Both were visiting the bereaved family of African National Congress leader Walter Sisulu, who was buried a couple of hours before the fourth International Indian Film Academy awards function began in Johannesburg.
"The visit was a humbling experience, a moment of deep emotions. It was full of surprise as well as I had the good fortune of meeting Nelson Mandela there; he had also come to pay respects to the legendary leader's family. And, with his characteristic humility, Mandela asked me if I still remembered him?" said Bachchan, before the presentation of the IIFA technical awards.
Bachchan said Mandela was referring to their last meeting in 1990, when he was doing a show in South Africa and Mandela, as South Africa's president, gave all the help necessary to make it a success.
The star said he read Mandela's work, especially his signed autobiography, during times of stress.
Yesterday, after the world premiere of director Honey Irani's debut film Armaan (starring Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Gracy Singh), Bachchan was questioned about the recent poll by Britain's Channel 4, which ranked him as one of the 100 best actors of all time.
"Yeh sab bacchon ka khel hai [This is a game played by children]. I don't think I am one of the greatest actors of all time. Somebody comes out with a poll and asks people to vote who is the best actor of them all and then there is a list," he said, adding he did not believe in any such listing.
Asked what he thought about Al Pacino, who is number one in the list, Bachchan said he considered the Hollywood actor 'great'.