Growing up has never been easy. More so, if you grow up as fat and ugly. We might adore Tanmay Bhatt today (Okay, not all of India, probably), but back in school, he was like all of us – bullied, insecure and ashamed. However, like every other success story, Tanmay too turned around this backset to make it a motivating factor to slay all hurdles of life.
He might have been fat, but he had a passion which very few in this country has. In spite of being an A-class topper in school, Tanmay chose comedy as a stream to build his career on. Right from the time he was fat-shamed, the rebellious kid in him decided to prove this world that he’s much more than that.
“I grew up in a small middle class family where everyone around me was either a doctor or an engineer. I have always been overweight, and a huge part of my childhood revolved around trying to be funny as a defence mechanism. I loved being the class clown, the kid who everyone referred to as funny. Growing up, I was obsessed with Johnny Lever to the point where I would tape over his voice and crack his jokes for over an hour with ease. On the 26th of January when I was in the 7th Grade, there was a building function going on and I mustered up the courage to ask the organisers to give me 5 minutes on stage. I told them I couldn’t dance, or do kart wheels but I would make people laugh. I went on and for 20 minutes straight released all the Johnny Lever jokes within me…and I basically slayed. You could say that my first tryst with comedy stemmed from way back then.
My parents were concerned with my weight for health reasons, so when I was in the 8th standard they bought me a cycle at home and motivated me to lose 5 kgs in 6 months. That was a significant incident in my life because even though I had no pressure from my parents, it was an admission of a huge flaw. I remember cycling and weeping because that’s when I thought If I couldn’t even lose 5kgs, what was I really capable of? But like they say, from your biggest adversity comes the biggest opportunity — after that I was never the same again. I worked my ass off— my numbers were perfect — I topped my school and my college and became obsessed with making something of myself and proving a point.
I gave up trying to become a marine engineer and focussed on my biggest passion — comedy. I have gone to every festival — from Malhar to everything else just to perform and get on stage. I have written, performed and have been part of events where I’ve been the only performer because no one else applied. At 18, I’ve written for Mumbai Mirror and by the age of 25 I had written over 15 television shows — I worked fucking hard.
Then I remember my first legit stand up happened when Kavi Shastri advised me to talk about who I am— for 20 minutes I joked about what it’s like to be fat and people loved it and I loved the applause — it was like a drug like nothing else and I think that’s when I decided I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
So very honestly, when people troll me for being fat on twitter I actually reply saying, ‘thank you’ because if I wasn’t fat I would have never worked this hard. I say thank you because I have an entire career because of it. I say thank you, because if it wasn’t for those jokes, I wouldn’t have had that much anger in me to go out there and kill it.”
And like all losers turned winners, he indeed did. His immense handwork and passion has brought him to become one of the most successful comedians in India at a young age of 25. All thanks to? Being fat shamed, being angry and being vulnerable.
Source: Humans Of Bombay