Actor Milind Soman was in New Delhi to talk about his initiative Pinkathon, which over the years has found immense recognition across the country. In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, Milind opened up about how Pinkathon has grown, why he is not seen often in movies and his wife Ankita Konwar.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. Pinkathon has grown quite big. It was started with an objective to create awareness about breast cancer. How far has the awareness reached?
I would say it has gone beyond what we had expected. People everywhere are calling us and asking why Pinkathon has not happened in their city. On Pinkathon Day last year, we had 63 cities, 130 locations and six different countries participating. This year, we are celebrating the day on October 20 and we have 80 cities, 200 locations and around 10 countries participating. So, that’s how the message or the initiative has spread.
Q. How do you see its growth?
For me, as a runner and an event manager, I was seeing that women were not participating in running events. And this is about nine years ago. So, I thought we must create a space only for women and see what is stopping them. It has been a long journey where we learnt many things about women’s needs and issues. I think the understanding of their need has made the initiative bigger. We reached out to visually impaired women who are usually ignored for such mainstream events. They are so inspiring for others. They make people like you and I think that if they can, we can. We also have cancer survivors, women with babies and so many different sections of people who are sidelined or made to think that they cannot be part of such an event but we give them the opportunity. We as a society make them feel disadvantaged but they are not. They want an opportunity and we (Pinkathon) give that opportunity to them, which increases the inspirational aspect.
Q. While we have films based or inspired by sportspersons, there is no film that talks about fitness in particular. Why is that?
I think it has to do with imagination. It is easy to understand that Mary Kom or PT Usha or Saina Nehwal are inspiring and are going to inspire thousands or millions of women with their story but to have that same vision towards ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things requires much more imagination. How will we tell that story?
This is a woman exactly like you. She is in your situation socially, physically and mentally but the only difference is that she believes in herself or has begun to believe in herself. So, to tell such story is little complicated and needs more attention. And I don’t think in terms of creativity and imagination, we have reached there.
Q. Would you like to do something in that space?
I can see a series on Pinkathon in which one of the stories could be of a woman who believes in the initiative and tries to encourage other women to keep themselves fit. So, to introduce such thing can be interesting.
Q. You are one of the hottest actors we have but do you think that aspect has limited the roles offered to you? Have you been able to experiment more?
I don’t know what stops them (filmmakers). I have been working in the industry for 30 years now. I don’t get that many offers. Some are interesting, some are not. I do only the offers that are interesting for me. Also, I have not indulged in knowing what is it that stops them. It could also be the fact that I do not socialise much or market myself. I am not the first person who comes to their mind for a role or I don’t get roles that are written for me considering my personality. But having said that, I don’t regret that either. I like acting. So, whenever I get a chance, I do it. It is great fun and a lot of money (chuckles) and it also helps with the kind of activities I like. So, I use the fame and popularity. I use the fact that people feel a certain way about fitness today and they see me as someone who has spearheaded a movement of sorts even though I never thought that about myself.
Q. What sort of roles intrigue you?
Anything. If a director comes to me and narrates me a role that I could not see myself in, that would be exciting.
Q. You and your wife Ankita share a unique bond. From dating her to getting married, how has the relationship grown?
It is a constant journey. Any relationship is. You keep learning new things about each other because individually also you keep changing all the time. Your dreams, ambition and experiences are creating a new person in you every day. I think that is a great journey to have because at a very deep level, you want to share these journeys (of change.) I want to share mine with her and she wants to share hers with me. That is the basis of our relationship that we have our own journey but we want to share it with each other.
Q. What makes the relationship the way it is?
I really don’t know. It is just the way we are as people. There is a connection which cannot be described, and I think it is best when it cannot be described because if it can be described, you will try and pick loop holes in it. There is something that we both share and have together, which feels amazing.
Q. You were great in Four More Shots Please. With the second season coming soon, what can we expect?
I have not read the script yet. They have already started shooting for it. I am going to join them soon but I would like to say that it is a great concept.
Q. A message for people out there on fitness and on finding love.
I will say take care of your health. Your first relationship is with yourself. So, you have to take care of yourself mentally and physically. And until you don’t do that, you will never be able to fully be in a relationship with someone else because you need to know who you are, what you want and how you want to be in future before you share the feelings with someone else.