In 1979, news that his favourite star was nearby for a film shooting was enough to make Madan Pawar, then an 18-year-old collegian, pedal all the way to Wai, 35 km from here, to see the cherubic actor. Wai, over 200 km from Mumbai, has been a favourite haunt of filmmakers and has featured in films like Gangaajal, Swades, Singham, Chennai Express and Goonj Uthi Shehnai.
Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor''s father, canned a few scenes of his swan-song Ram Teri Ganga Maili in the 80s at Wai.
"When we heard that Rishi Kapoor was shooting for Sargam in Wai, I and four of my friends decided to bunk college for a day and see the shoot," said Pawar, who runs a popular non-veg eatery on the Pune-Bengaluru National Highway.
"When we reached Wai, the song ''Ramji ki nikli sawari from the K Viswanath-starrer was being picturised in the main galli (lane) there. There was a sizeable crowd of onlookers," Pawar told PTI.
"It was our lucky day as we got a chance to meet the actor between shots. He was surprised when we told him that we had cycled all the way from Satara and had bunked studies to watch the shooting," he said.
What impressed Pawar the most was the late actor's affable nature. "He waved at everyone and it looked as if he really meant it. He seemed to enjoy the company of people," Pawar said.
"I told him that I studied in Sainik School Satara, the alma mater of actor Rakesh Roshan. He said Rakesh was a friend but he was not aware that he had studied in Satara," he said.
Pawar's eatery is now patronised by leading actors in Marathi film and TV industry who make it a point to enjoy a hearty meal whenever they are passing through the highway. However, nothing can surpass the thrill of that fleeting encounter with Rishi Kapoor, he says.
"While returning to Satara from Wai, the rest of us were thrilled, but a friend who was in the group of cyclists, looked dejected. When we quizzed him, he said he was more keen on catching a glimpse of Jaya Prada, Rishi Kapoor''s leading lady in Sargam, who wasn't present at the shooting that day," Pawar recalls with a grin.