‘India's Mr Bean' Jatin Thanvi on how the sitcom character helped him grow

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Jatin Thanvi told ‘Humans of Bombay’ that receiving praise for his impersonation of the socially-awkward and childish Mr Bean helped him gain confidence. (Image posted on Instagram by Humans of Bombay)

Jatin Thanvi, an Indian student in his 20s, has been entertaining lakhs of his social media followers by impersonating Mr Bean, the sitcom character played to perfection by English actor Rowan Atkinson.

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Watching the socially-awkward and childish Mr Bean was a source of comfort for Jatin Thanvi, who was shy growing up and had no friends in school.

“I’d often find myself eating and playing by myself in school, but I wanted to be noticed too,” Thanvi told Humans of Bombay. “My only comfort was coming home and watching ‘Mr. Bean.’ “I’d relate to Mr. Bean as a person; he was socially awkward too and had little to no friends also.”

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Thanvi mimicked Mr Bean at home and even went dressed as him to a school competition. The praise he won at the contest did wonders for his self-confidence.

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“My classmates approached me astonished!” Thanvi told the photoblog. “They said, ‘You were amazing– we thought the real Mr. Bean had walked out!’. It was the most memorable day!”

Thanvi said that the character of Mr Bean helped him come out of his shell. “I overcame my awkwardness and started making friends and taking part in competitions. I’d make everyone laugh with my impersonations–I loved it!”

Thanvi’s videos impersonating Mr Bean became popular during the COVID-19 lockdown in India and he decided to start his own YouTube channel. On Instagram, he calls himself “India’s Mr. Bean”.

The YouTuber said he was touched by the feedback he has received. “It’s heart-warming to read comments like ‘you make me laugh my depression away!’ And that’s what I plan on doing my whole life –- making people laugh and feel good about themselves.”
Thanvi said he hopes to meet his idol one day.

“I want to thank him [Atkinson] for always making me laugh,” he said. “He’s taught me not to take myself seriously and whenever I meet people, I tell them what I learned from Mr. Bean- ‘Start dating yourself, take yourself out to eat, buy yourself clothes and love yourself, because you’re awesome!’”

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