Anyone who has lived their teens through the late ’90s, would most probably consider Milind Soman to be the hottest man on the planet! His breathtaking entry in singer Alisha Chinai’s chart-topping number, Made In India blew our minds and shot him to fame.
Twenty five years later, Soman, who is also a fitness enthusiast, has released his memoir with the same title. The book, co-written by author Roopa Pai and published by Penguin Random House, delves into his relationships with the women in his life, with his business partners and the ever-lasting one — with fitness. He talks about his addiction and subsequent de-addiction to smoking, alcohol and rage.
In a conversation with The Free Press Journal, Soman says that he never wished to pen this memoir, but five years ago was approached by Penguin and thought it was fascinating.
“I don’t really have a very interesting story because to me a story is something that has big struggles and obstacles one must fight and overcome. My story is just that I was able to do everything I wanted to in my life.
And so I did a lot of stuff. The publishers thought that was something interesting, as a lot of people who even have the opportunity to do it, don’t utilise it,” says Soman. With this backdrop, Soman decided to collaborate with Roopa Pai, whom he found on Facebook, to write his book.
Talking about how he and Roopa figured out the structure and rhythm of the book, Soman tells us that they decided together, that his first full marathon in 2009 would be the central thread of the book.
“Roopa also decided to add so many anecdotes of the city’s journey, India’s journey over the last 50 years which has been so exciting. I think that is what really makes the book work on so many levels,” he says.
Milind and Roopa would sit together and discuss the various experiences in his life, which was quite a task for Soman owing to his bad memory. However, after six or seven sessions, Roopa decided that she had enough material to proceed with writing the book.
Even though Milind has himself not written the book, he says Roopa was very accurate in creating a tone for the book which exactly conveyed his personality.
“She has really picked a tone that sounds a lot like me. For instance, the first line of the book, ‘When I was five, my rabbit Benjamin ran out into the snow and froze to death.’ I didn’t say that line but that is very me, I could have said it,” says Soman.
When your entire life is out there for people to read, one might have the fear of being judged for their actions and the way they lead their life. Not Milind. He doesn’t really care about what happened in the past and so never has had the fear of being judged. “I welcomed being judged because I want to know and I love people’s opinions. They don’t matter to me at all!”
Interestingly, as a kid Milind used to read a lot but stopped around 25 years ago. “I started with Enid Blyton and wasn’t interested much in comics but in novels. Tarzan is my favourite character and I read a lot of the novels. If I were to read today though, it would be science fiction or fantasy.” An author whose writing style he really admires is Issac Asimov.
Ask if we can expect more literary work from Milind, and he says, “I really enjoyed this whole process and so I have already thought of another book and the title as well!”