From his ‘Captain Vyom’ days to recent films like ‘David’ and ‘Jodi Breakers’, a lot has changed for supermodel-turned-actor Milind Soman.
While he makes time for at least one film a year, he channels most of his energy into promoting running in India.
The reason why he started to run in 2004 was to feel like a ‘real man’.
“When I was a kid, there were three things that I wanted to do – be a zookeeper, climb Mount Everest and run a full marathon, which I thought real men had to do. But I used to hate running, just like many others, because it takes a lot of effort. I was always fit and swam five hours a day till I was 23 because I was in the Indian national swimming team."
"But once that stopped, I had the urge to do something because I had so much energy. In 2004, the ‘Mumbai Marathon’ was happening and I knew I had to do it. It was traumatic even till the 15th kilometre. But finishing 21 kilometres was surprisingly easy. So I did it again."
"I ran from Delhi to Mumbai and from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. I realised that you have to struggle till a point where it’s effortless after which, it becomes enjoyable. I would love to run till I drop dead,” he tells Metrolife on a recent visit to the City.
Though one might deem him crazy, Milind recently got addicted to running barefoot.
“My first barefoot full marathon was in January. And now, I don’t wear any footwear 80 per cent of the time. It’s not a sacrifice but energising to feel at one with the earth. The feet have a lot of nerve endings and when they actually feel the surface, your body gets a signal about how to respond, which increases its efficiency in every movement,” he explains.
Does he feel that his celebrity status is being shed because of running?
“Everyone still treats me like a celebrity but it’s lesser because I’m much more accessible now. We did an event called ‘Megapink’ last November because people said that with ‘Pinkathon’, I was talking to women about breast cancer in major cities and not looking at smaller towns. So we invited people from anywhere in the country to participate in the three-kilometre run, where they had to get as many people to run on a single day."
"Forty cities ran that day. That’s what I like about being famous — that I can do even a 100-city running event on one day if I choose to,” he says.
There’s a lot more to him than running.
On being asked about his ‘non-acting, non-running persona’, he shares, “I like to stare at the wall. I can do that for hours! I like to read quite a bit. And I don’t like to watch movies or listen to music.”
What film is he working on at present?
“I just finished a film with Arvind Swamy, who acted in ‘Bombay’ and Roja. It’s a remake of a Marathi film called Kaksparsh, which is the Hindu ritual of feeding a crow when somebody dies,” he wraps up.