I was not going to write about Milind Soman. Ex-supermodel, actor, swimmer and now a marathoner. He is probably still single and as hot as he was in his debut music video ‘Made in India’ by Alisha Chinnai.
After reading an interview of Soman in the Hindu Metro Plus today and Facebook reminder about a Mint article about him I had read few years ago, my hand moved unconsciously and even before I realised I was penning down my impressions of Soman.
Memory of the first time I came across Soman is still very clear. I remember him as the cool and pretty guy who comes out of a trunk at the last scene in a Hindi album song ‘Made in India’, which was a rage back in 1995. Most dance teams in schools always chose this song because it was good to listen to, famous and pretty catchy. When you hear a song so often you obviously want to know what the song is all about. So I caught it in one of the channels, which I do not even remember, when I was probably seven or eight.
After ‘Made in India’ I saw him in Captain Vyom, a television science fiction series. I was 10 then. Soman played the role of Captain Vyom, who was entrusted with the task of capturing 12 most dangerous criminals, who escaped from prison in some outer planet. During the course of the series he successfully captures them one by one and learns more about his mysterious past. The series was telecast in DD every Sunday from 10.30 a.m. to 11 a.m. I never missed a single episode because the series was interesting and I liked it and for Soman, whose performance was only so-so as a superhero.
In both the cases, I was too young to understand his charm but not too late to admire things that are beautiful and well-made, like a painting or an sculpture chiseled into perfection. It makes you want to look at it again and again. That is probably how I thought of him at that time.
It did not stray away from the truth, I realised only few years later when I was a teenager and caught him in a movie Rules: Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula sometime in 2004. It was a rom-com, so of course there is not much of a story. He plays the role of a model, who falls in love with a girl-next-door type woman, which was every girl’s dream. It was a typical story of an ordinary girl loves a handsome boy, who loves someone else, but falls in love with the heroine in the end. It was so cliched. I was 16. I watched it a million times.
I could not take my eyes of Soman. He had a swimmers body, amazing smile and inviting eyes that was tempting. I could to some extent understand why I would feel all warm and feel shy when I see him on screen. He was a secret crush every woman harbours. He had the looks for it and was probably born with it.
Fast forward few years, I was not a giddy teenager anymore. I had forgotten about my childhood fantasy, until I saw him in his new avatar. It was sometime in 2014 and there was a full page ad in a newspaper of Soman in his running shorts and sleeveless shirt, sweating. My heart skipped a beat. It was an ad for pinkathon, women only marathon to spread awareness about breast cancer. He is a runner at the prime of his age now, still as attractive as he was back then. He is the brand ambassador for pinkathon. I did not think twice about registering for it.
After that I would catch him in the news now and then for milestones he covered in running like triathlon, Iron man and now Ultraman. I would look at his pretty face and his toned muscles. I would sigh, hear my loud heartbeat for a minute or two and then move on.
Whenever I see his interview just like today, I would be reminded of the girl who was starry-eyed over a man who was almost 25 years her senior. It reminded me that he set a benchmark for what handsome and rugged mean to an adolescent. Yes, this attraction that lasts for few minutes whenever his face is splashed on papers and television screen was obviously skin-deep, very shallow.
That is probably all there is to him. That is all probably he will ever be to women- a fantasy that we never wish for it to come true.