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Setting a rule of sorts

Milind Soman, the icon of models, is now charting a new course - film production. His first venture `Rules', produced by E-Motion pictures, is slated for release in August.

RENAISSANCE MAN: Milind Soman redefined Indian male looks.

HE IS the country's first male model and he changed the male look in the sub-continent. Milind Soman, the great-looking hunk who has done numerous ad campaigns, walked the ramp a zillion times, forayed into acting on the small screen before graduating onto the big screen has now turned to film production with his production house E-Motion Pictures.

The film is being financed by Crossover Films floated by the New York-based Chatterjee group.

E-Motion Pictures tries to provide a platform to young actors, writers and directors and helps Milind to do something different.

The first film he is producing called Rules will be released in late August. The film has lot of newcomers like actress Meera Vasudevan, director Parvati Balagopalan and art director Mira Dabir.

Milind says he got into production because, "first and foremost I am a control freak. I like to be in charge of things and being in production helps you with that. Also there is so much talent in India and I would like to be instrumental in promoting it."

After acting in three films — Tarkeeb, 16 December and Agnivarsha, Milind decided to move on to production. He is also acting in a film called Surya, which will be released soon.

According to Soman, "it was a pleasurable experience to produce the film because most of the people associated with it are my friends and are fresh raw talent. It is a light romantic film like When Harry met Sally or One Fine Day."

Satiated with his modelling stint, Milind was craving to do something different. Around the same time, Plus Channel - a production house cast Milind in the first Indian English soap A Mouthful of Sky.

Milind, who was already negotiating for a film then, agreed to act on the small screen.

As luck had it, his relations with Parvati Balagopalan, while shooting his first Hindi serial Margarita took a different course.

He discovered her interest in production and clubbed it with his ambition of experimenting in new arenas. They joined hands and floated a production house called E-Motion Pictures.

Though films did not happen instantly, they produced more TV serials.

While these serials provided something different to the audience, it brought a significant change in Milind's house too.

For, this was the first time that a TV set entered his house, as his mother wanted to see her son act.

Born in a typical Maharashtrian middle class family, Milind Soman is probably what could be called the black sheep in a long line of intellectuals.

With all four grandparents doctors, mother a biochemistry professor, and father a scientist with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, one did not really expect the son to pursue something as radical as modelling.

But that probably shows the spirit of adventure in him. As a child, Milind read almost every book he got hold of.

That was the only way to pass time for a boy, who had no TV at home and was neither interested in playing gulli cricket nor hanging out with girlfriends.

A student of St Antonio D'Silva Boys High School, Dadar, Milind did fairly well in academics, but was not really inclined towards cultural activities.

He secured admission in Saboo Siddique College of Engineering, Mumbai. Though he faired reasonably well, he did not see himself making money out of machines. Hence, he turned to the unusual career of modelling in 1988.

While he is an icon for models, Milind could well serve as a model for swimmers as well.

For, it is a little known fact that he set swimming records at the national level from 1984 to `88, till he finally got bored of competing with himself!

About of his heavenly body, Milind comments it is not a matter of a few months of pulling, pushing and stretching.

He attributes his physique to relentless exercises for fourteen years. Apart from starting with two hours of swimming that eventually went up to six, Milind made it a point to run, do pull-ups, push-ups, and exercise on the parallel bar regularly.

While most actors have a self-inflicted catalogue of rules and regulations about food, Milind eats according to his whims and fancies.

Anything from chappati-bhaji to a sizzler is fine by him, provided he is in the right mood.

So much so that he may even gobble up three meals a day, if he feels like it. The only taboo is on eggs and cheese, as they make him feel uneasy within ten minutes after the meal.

The best part of producing a film according to Milind is, "the beginning when the story evolved. The very fact of seeing an idea culminate in a screenplay was very exciting."

One wonders where he will go from here and a sexy smile creases his face, "Let me first cross this path and then we will see where I will go. Right now I am both nervous and excited."


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