MADE IN INDIA

— JASMEEN DUGAL

He's the most driven, grounded and accessible man you'll ever meet. I am talking about nineties supermodel, actor and sportsman Milind Soman. His impossibly handsome face and hot physique has graced the most iconic campaigns — who can forget the searing imagery of Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre in Tuffs Shoes' campaign, wearing just a pair of shoes, with a python wrapped around them; one of the most iconic, controversial campaigns in the history of Fashion. So, when he co-authored his memoir, 'Made In india' with Roopa Pai, I had to read it.

 

For the uninitiated, Milind Soman became a rage after he appeared in singer Alisha Chinai's music video, Made In India. 25 years later, he gave his memoir the same title. In his words, the 'part memoir part random- reflections- on- life and part unsolicited and unintended advice column' reflects his musings and memories. ''Who knows what the future holds… all we can do is stay curious and treat each new day as a great new adventure, packed with the promise of new experiences that may not always be pleasant but are certainly not to be feared. All we can do is keep moving…''

 

Milind's memories of his first milestone as a model reflects his respect for the masters of Fashion. ''They were all just a couple of years older than I, and they were trying to do something groundbreaking, something that hadn't been attempted before. However it ended, their was bound to be an interesting journey. if I rode shotgun, I would be assured of a ringside view… and that's how I got to model Rohit 'Gudda' Bal's first menswear collection, and embarked on the wildest ride of my life… it was a strange, strange world that I entered into, in the Bombay of 1989… the designers whose work Ensemble carried — Rohit Khosla, Rohit Bal, Abu-Jani Sandeep Khosla and Tarun Tahiliani — were among the pioneers of the industry., but to me, they all seemed more than a little mad… despite our differences, we got along like a house on fire. my designer friends could be wacky, wild and totally over the to, but i could also see that they were hugely talented…''

 

The book juxtaposes between his life as an international level swimmer and as a supermodel and actor, the heartthrob of millions. But what made me fall in love with him was his personality that shines through the pages. ''Where earlier I used to cut in when a potential client, partner or employee was speaking, and tell him where I thought he was going on an argument, and why he was wrong, I have learnt to listen quietly, and then give him my point of view… that has helped me hold on to my true identity— that of a shy, middle class Mumbai boy from Shivaji Park— versus my manufactured one— supermodel, IronMan, ladykiller.'' In 2015, Milind won the Ironman challenge — a triathlon that includes a 3.8-km swim, a180.2-km cycle ride and 42.2-km run without a break which the participants are required to complete within seventeen hours to win the title of ‘Ironman’.Thats not all; he has also taken thirty days to run from Delhi to Mumbai! ''…when you are a sportsperson, winning and losing are such an integral part of the gam, of your life… you begin to see both [success and failure] simply as experiences that you can learn from, to truly become better and better.''

 

Do read his memoir if you're a fan of Milind Soman. I relished each page!

 

Made In India

Authors: Milind Soman and Roopa Pai

Publisher: Penguin
 

Made In India Made In India

9-SEPTEMBER-2020

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