He courted limelight and controversy posing in the nude with then girlfriend Madhu Sapre, wrapped by a python, for a shoe commercial in the nineties, and did much the same again nearly three decades later when he ran in his birthday suit on a Goa beach to celebrate his 55th birthday last month. Milind Soman, model and fitness freak, always lives up to his sex symbol tag with aplomb, and says the definition doesn’t bother him.
“The tag of sex symbol doesn’t bother me. I will tell you why — because, for a man to be regarded as a sex symbol is great. Men are very happy to be regarded as sex symbols because that is something extra for them,” Milind told IANS.
However, he acknowledges the gender disparity in this context. “When a woman is regarded as a sex symbol, it might be everything that she is seen for, which is not a good thing,” he observed.
The actor explained: “That is part of the whole discrimination on the part of the way we see women. Women have been objectified to that extent. Men have not been objectified to that extent that it (being a sex symbol) is all that they stand for.”
The actor feels things are changing for the better. “I think it is going away. I see it becoming a little bit more equal. The whole thing can’t change at once but different aspects, especially gender equality, will change quicker than other aspects,” he added.
Recently, Milind caused a stir when he posted a nude picture of himself running on the beach on his 55th birthday. While the actor was lauded by many for the viral image, he was booked by South Goa district police for obscenity.
Asked if the reactions and response to his birthday suit picture surprised him, Milind laughed and said: “Nothing surprises me.”
“Okay, on social media, nothing surprises me. I’ve been here for more than 30 years. People’s opinions are important. But what they tell you is how our society is growing, how our values are changing and how our culture is evolving. It doesn’t mean that something is good or bad, or that’s not what it tells me. I can decide what is good or bad, but what it (the reactions) tells me is about society. (Now), more people are getting more exposed, and more people are able to express their ideas. That is interesting — what ideas they come up with and how they change over time,” he added.
Tell him he looks good in the birthday picture, and his response is: “A lot of people who saw it have told me the same thing.”
At the moment, Milind is seen in the role of a eunuch in new web series “Paurashpur”. The series traces the story of a medieval city that is fraught with crime, corruption, abuse of power, misogyny, rape and love. It is set against the backdrop of 18th century India.
“Paurashpur” also features Shilpa Shinde, Kashish Rai, Annu Kapoor, Shaheer Sheikh, Flora Saini, Anant Joshi, Asmita Bakshi, Harshita Kasyap and Sahil Salathia. The show is directed by Sachindra Vats and has premiered on ALTBalaji and Zee5.
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