Social media and allied platforms have helped us expressing our views. Although they have made our lives easier, it has also given birth to trolling, slamming, and shaming. From fat shaming to slut shaming, people do every possible thing in the name of the fundamental right to expression. This is made the lives of celebrities and big names terrible. However, there are some celebs who have learned to give it back to the trolls and shamers. AIB fame, Tanmay Bhat, is one of those who used such dirty tricks of the haters in a positive manner.
Tanmay once shared his success story with Humans Of Bombay and expressed that fat shaming helped him become the successful person he is today. Here’s what he said:
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“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 focused 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 for 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.”
Tanmay very cleverly used those fat shaming comments as a challenge and became a rising star. Today, almost everyone knows who Tanmay Bhat is and it’s a tight slap on the faces of the haters who ever tried to make him feel ashamed of his body.