Photo: Shamani Joshi
There’s a new craze catching wind in the Indian state of Gujarat and it may just make participants the butt of all jokes. What The Fart (WTF), a farting contest that is set to be the first of its kind, will be held in the city of Surat on September 22. Yes, you read that right.The state that brought us dhoklas and diamond merchants is now getting its very own fart fest. The brainchild of 48-year old Yatin Sangoi, a singer who says he was once featured on a popular singing show on TV in 2001, and his partner Mul Sanghvi, the search for the next ‘padshah’ is exactly what it sounds like: a test to see whose farts are the loudest, the longest and the most musical.
“I farted in the middle of watching a movie with my family and one of them laughed, and said that if there was a contest, I would’ve won. That’s when it hit me that while fart contests happen in countries like China, UK and US, and even have a world cup, we don’t have anything like it in India,” Sangoi tells VICE. We ask him whether he feels this will be too smelly to stomach and he shrugs it off with a chuckle. “I want to normalise the process of farting. Even 20-25 years back, people used to fart openly, but now they’ve become all sophisticated and consider it gross, often shamed for farting publicly, when even doctors will tell you that farting is one of the healthiest human body functions,” Sangoi stresses. Sangoi’s mission to #FreeTheFart is quickly gaining clout, with more than 40 participants signing up and coming all the way from Jaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai to fart-off.
Participants who manage to make the most melodic noise while doing a power puff will not only take home trophies but according to Sangoi, a recent spur of sponsor interest might just take the rewards anywhere from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 for the winners. The fart fest will be held at a local club and includes a registration fee of Rs 100. Sangoi says he specifically chose to have it before Navratri season since people have more free time and are less likely to spend their money on other purchases.Many may feel that this concept kinda stinks, especially folks who can’t stand the sound of fart-jokes, but Sangoi’s use of this flatulent humour is meant to be cathartic. According to the organisers, it’s all in the spirit of fun and farts, where even the judges will be stand-up comedians and doctors. Sangoi also mentions that the event’s Facebook page will update participants with various ways to prepare themselves for the fart-off, including recommending a fart-friendly diet of radish, beans and boiled potatoes if they want to fart on-demand.Besides being the potential birthplace for fart-based beatboxing or just the smelliest event ever, Sangoi sees the fart fest as an idea for the future that he aims to take to places like Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kolkata, and is even seriously considering expanding the idea to include a burp contest. But for now, the focus is on keeping things fart and furious.Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.