'Meeting Stallone was worth it', says his top Mumbai fan

Updated: Sep 01, 2018, 16:43 IST | Sonia Lulla

Sly's top Mumbai fan on how he paid a bomb to attend superstar's London bash

'Meeting Stallone was worth it', says his top Mumbai fan
Sylvester Stallone with fans at the event;

Gaurish Rangnekar had loosened his grip on his wallet. He knew the date he was heading for, was special. Making his way from Mumbai to London for his first interaction with the one he admired, he'd decided to fly in two days prior to recuperate from the jet-lag. "I didn't want to look puffy," he says sheepishly.

The city restaurateur's chance of grabbing the attention of the one he'd come to meet was 1 in 3,000. After all, that's the number that turned up from across the globe when an event company decided to give fans a chance to interact with Sylvester Stallone on his 72nd birthday. The queue outside London's O2 Arena on July 6, was swelling. "You can compare it to the one we see at Siddhivinayak Temple," he laughs.

Rangnekar at the bash. pic/Facebook/An experience with
Rangnekar at the bash. pic/Facebook/An experience with

Having spent R25,000 to acquire a spot in the 'Gold' section, Rangnekar, 33, shared the table with 10 admirers. Comparing the experience to attending the Oscars, he says, "The food was excellent and was served at the table with grandeur. Ten waiters arrived in a coordinated manner, serving everyone at regular intervals."

Stallone was to address this crowd, recounting memories of working in the industry at the event, which doubled up as a celebration to mark 40 years since the release of his acclaimed actioner, Rocky. But, before that, the guests were made to be part of a live auction that saw Stallone's wardrobe from his films put on sale. "I've never felt poorer," jokes Rangnekar, as he chronicles the bids being made before him. "The knife that he [Stallone] used in The Expendables and his jacket from Rambo were up for auction. The gloves he wore in Rocky 2 sold for R7 lakh, while a small charcoal art painting was bid at R5 lakh. Another bronze statue of Stallone sealed the deal at R10 lakh. I saw the goings-on and thought, 'bahut kamana padega.'"

Gaurish Rangnekar

Rangnekar reveals he was instantly smitten when the veteran took to the stage. "He spoke about his journey, which was so motivating. Apart from narrating the events we already know about, he also spoke about how, despite giving four acclaimed Rocky films, he failed to find producers after the fifth one tanked. It was only when he was 60 that he found support to make the sixth instalment." Even in London, the American actor was made to feel at home when a montage featuring his former co-actors — including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Al Pacino, among others — was aired.

At the glamorous do, Rangnekar found his own 15-minutes of fame. "I got to feature in one of the videos as part of audience questions, and was happy to be answered by him. In fact, the folks seated at my table — a guy from Norway and a family from Wales — were so amused that I'd come from Mumbai that every now and then, they'd erupt in cheer telling everyone around about me. I got an applause from them, albeit a lesser one than that which Stallone received."

The event is a tick on Rangnekar's bucket list, who speaks about his fondness for Stallone with childlike enthusiasm. "My ringtone is the Rocky theme and I often purchase Rocky merchandise. In fact, my child is due in November, and if it's a son, I will name him Rocky."

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