Made in India: A Memoir by Milind Soman and Roopa Pai
Genre: Non-Fiction

Ever since he burst out of a crate (in Alisha Chinai’s Made in India single) onto the Indian glamour scene, Milind Soman has been synonymous with the terms eye candy and heartthrob. The supermodel has been in the news for his impeccable physical fitness, myriad controversies and a few forgettable films. Readers can perhaps not be blamed for being driven by certain preconceived notions as they pick up a copy of Made in India: A Memoir. However, they might just be in for a pleasant surprise.

Made in India is not some narcistic rant by arguably India’s first Adonis. In fact, far from it. It is a sensitive, witty and informed account of Soman’s journey into superstardom and how he keeps things real in the fickle world of fame. Right from chronicling his childhood crushes and heartbreaks to coping with his rising celebrity status when he was barely an adult, Soman keeps the narrative well-structured and meaningful with an interesting choice of words and phrases. His retelling of a breakup where he was ‘dumped’ by a girl on account of his skin colour hints at racism.

Soman also takes us with him on his journey of becoming an extreme athlete. However, it is not a superficial reporting of his fitness regime; it is a heartfelt recounting of how this phase of his life shaped him as a human being, how he weaned himself off his addiction and how he got involved in charitable causes.

Co-written by popular author Roopa Pai, “Made in India” follows a dual-timeline narrative—one that follows his memoir and one which focuses on the 2009 Mumbai Marathon. This style of storytelling could have been confusing but the competent handling makes it a compelling read. This memoir is a must not only for Milind Soman fans but also for those seeking inspiration to shake off a sedentary lifestyle, especially in these Covid-19 times.