Milind Soman speaks with almost brutal honesty in his book Made in India, co-authored by Roopa Pai, about his life from his ‘Marathi mulga’ origins to what he is now.
When I got a chance to review Milind Soman’s book Made In India, co-authored by Roopa Pai, my happiness knew no bounds. Being a huge fan of ‘The Milind Soman’, I could not say no to this opportunity. I was not sure what I would take away from this book as I’m neither a fitness freak nor into sports, until I laid my hands over it.
Authored by Milind Soman, co-authored by Roopa Pai and published by Penguin Random House, this book gives you an insight into the life of the swimmer turned supermodel turned actor turned runner. He has shared the intricate details of his life starting from his childhood memories, experiences, ideologies, beliefs, love-life, and his transformational journey from an upper-middle-class Marathi boy to becoming a national level sportsperson to becoming international fame in the fashion industry till now when he dons various hats of an enthusiastic runner, filmmaker, producer and an entrepreneur.
I loved the conversational writing style and smooth narration where the author has beautifully shared his life events with a backdrop of running marathons at various locations, highlighting the details of every marathon – the distance, time covered, injuries and the challenges.
Milind claims in the book that he is not a fan of revisiting the past and if asked, “Where do you wish to return?”, his reply would be “Nowhere!” But his love for the city of dreams, Bombay, is pretty evident. He takes you on a city tour from CST to Mahalaxmi temple, from Siddhivinayak to Worli, from Juhu to Queens Ring, and many more places significant in his life.
We often perceive the lives of celebrities quite differently from ours. A page 3 lifestyle, special dietary supplements, and an obsession with their looks and physique are a few things on our list of perceptions when it comes to a sportsperson and supermodel-like him. However, he has decoded the myths in the book.
Milind Soman didn’t shy away from sharing some personal details, like he has been a no-soap /no cosmetic person for years and prefers his sweat smelling body than a perfumed one. He not only prefers home-cooked meals but also advocates the same. “There is no need to consume a special diet or supplements, eating right and on time is all you need to keep yourself fit,” is what he advises.
He calls himself a ‘misfit’ on many occasions in the book.
Whether it is shifting to Shivaji Park, Mumbai from the UK, or in the school and even in the fashion industry where he was the “shy, odd, middle-class boy” amidst the elite crowd. A misfit even as he never liked being clicked but ended up in front of a camera for many hours every day.
He talks about his penchant for reading and finding solace in books and Mother Nature. A misfit as he prefers solo traveling, gazing at the sky and beach for hours sans any distraction. Where Enid Blyton and Tarzan are his all-time favourites, his interests also include Sci-Fi, Mills and Boons, H.G.Wells, Game of Throne, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Star Trek series.
He has shared how one door led to another. From getting into swimming accidentally and winning many championships, to how his modeling career started when he got his first break. And eventually his growth from a model, actor, to an entrepreneur, filmmaker, producer, and a runner.
With so many more things he speaks of
~ his relationships, with his parents, girlfriends, and wives,
~ his addiction to smoking and alcohol, which began while he was a supermodel and actor, the dead diction, and his anger issues
~ the lost opportunities that came his way, lost because of his rage, arrogance, and over-confidence. He has given due credit to the people who stood by him, swimming, and his own attitude for this positive transformation.
Quoting my one of favorite lines from the book, “I believe stress is a good thing. We would never get anything done if it wasn’t for stress – all of humankind’s progress has happened because we were dissatisfied with something and wanted to improve it to make our lives better… Stress is a given – it is how you deal with it that defines who you are, and how you will live your life.”
I was sold at the simplicity of his thoughts, his low-key attitude, grounded nature and the honesty with which he has penned the book in an unpretentious way without fearing about his shortcomings, failures, negatives, overconfidence etc.
There’s an interesting story he shares about this title – fans of Milind Soman will quickly recognise that he featured in a song video by Alisha Chinai, called ‘Made in India’.
He admits how uncomfortable he was shooting the song as he thought the idea was silly, but as it all turned out, it was the life-changer, blockbuster song of his life. Of course the book had to be titled so.
What I would have liked to be different? Though he has shared the pictures at the end, I would have loved to see them alongside the context.
The book makes for a wonderful read. You should certainly pick it up if
~ you are a fitness freak,
~ you are a sportsperson,
~ you are his fan.
And even if you none of the above, you should still read it as it is not just about a sportsperson or a runner or model, but a power-packed book of positivity, inspiration, and motivation.
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