In a series of videos on Instagram, comedian and founder of the laughter-collective All India Bakchod, Tanmay Bhat, has confessed to being clinically depressed.
“I feel almost paralysed and unable to participate socially and online,” said Bhat. “For most of my adult life, I worked at a company that I was trying to build. And having to watch, letting the office go, people who worked with us, having to say goodbye to that, took a toll mentally and physically. Which finally came to headway somewhere at the end of last year. The doctors told me that I had clinical depression and maybe I should consider doing something about it.”
Bhat distanced himself from AIB after sexual harassment accusations surfaced against his cofounder Gursimran Khamba and writer-comedian Utsav Chakraborty in October 2018. While Khamba was sent on leave after being accused of harassing women members of the company, Bhatt came under fire for failing to act against and even condoning – according to some allegations – Chakraborty.
In May, Bhat was demoted from his position of CEO of AIB, since when he went missing from social media. The 32-year-old who was a judge on the first season of Amazon Prime’s stand-up comedy reality show Comicstaan will not be seen on the second season, which premieres on July 12.
Speaking about growing up with weight issues and how a lot of his self-worth was derived from his work, Bhat said in his Instagram video: “I don’t think I have been strong enough to be able to pick myself. I honestly sometimes just get super worried that this state of paralysis is permanent and I sometimes feel like maybe I might never get back to being who I was or operating [again] to my potential.”
Support from fans and industry members poured in for Bhat’s video, which he posted under the caption “I’m a bit of a mess. I don’t know when I’ll stop being a bit of a mess. But when I’m less of a mess, I will owe it to everybody who has written in being supportive.”
Comedians such as Zakir Khan, Kenny Sebastian, Sumukhi Suresh, Kaneez Surka, Naveen Richard, Kunal Kamra and AIB members Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya wrote messages of support in the comments section of Tanmay’s post, reported the Hindustan Times.
“You have gone through so much and come out wiser and stronger, this will be no different,” wrote comedian Kenny Sebastian, while humorist Surka wrote, “You are so loved jaan – you don’t even realise how much.”
“We are all rooting for you to come back harder and stronger,” said Kunal Kamra, while musician Vishal Dadlani wrote, “No rush, no pressure, take all the time you need to figure it out, but know that there is a world of love for you out there.”
Film journalist Rajeev Masand also chipped in with a message. “This too shall pass. Older, wiser, stronger. You’re right, you owe it to every one of us who has rooted for you and laughed with you to get back in the saddle. Sending love and best wishes.”
Fellow comedian Aditi Mittal, however, took a different view. “Like what part of your life will you not sell for public consumption, again?” she asked in a Twitter thread where she outlined the mental toll that working with AIB took on her.
“I remember being s**t shamed by Utsav Chakraborty, to a guy that said he liked me,” Mittal wrote in her post. “He told the guy ‘Be careful of Aditi, she’s been around.’”