TamilCulture sat down with Thushaan Kunabalasingam, the man behind Tamil Fitness Motivation.
Could you tell us about how your journey started with Tamil Fitness Motivation?
First of all, I’d like to thank TamilCulture for taking the time to interview me. I am a huge fan of your site!
I played soccer professionally and semi-professionally in England and Germany. At the time, I had some people following me on social media. I always wanted to give back to my community.
One day, my family and I decided to start a health project we called Tamil Fitness Motivation. We have this project in three languages – Tamil, English and German. My teams from Germany, the United States and India are working on our blog daily. I have to say a huge thank you to my family and friends.
Why did you choose the name Tamil Fitness Motivation?
I realized that through fitness, you can keep your mind and body healthy. I strongly believe that through motivation, you can help people see the future in a positive light and inspire them to pull together. Your quality of life will change when you take charge of how motivated you feel at any given moment. I’ve experienced this and it’s why I chose to go this route.
The Tamil Fitness Motivation name idea came about when we decided to do our program in the Tamil language. Our aim was to help the elderly as our parents often work a lot and ignore their health.
We have so much stress at school, work and at home. Each week, we release a new video about fitness, motivation and healthy cooking.Our wish is that everyone should be happy and live a healthy lifestyle. Doing exercises and eating healthy should be a priority.
In your videos, you speak in Tamil and English. Which language you prefer?
I have lived for three years in the UK but I was born in Germany. I have to be honest with you. My Tamil is very bad. I am still practicing so that one day I can speak one day like the people from the Tamil Television News *Laugh *. We should never forget our mother tongue and our Tamil Roots. It doesn't matter where we live.
I know some people who can speak Tamil, but they are too shy to speak it. That’s why I always say in my videos “Look at me. Even if my Tamil language is not perfect, I still speak it! If I can do it, you can do it easily!” I also like to speak English.
What other hobbies and interests do you have apart from TFM?
I like to read psychology and other motivational books. Apart from this, I play soccer and listen to hip hop and R&B. I am also a great fan of carnatic music.
TFM has a unique clothing product. Tell us more about it. Do you ship worldwide?
Thana links with every Tamil worldwide. We have college sweatshirt and other items for boys and girls. At the moment, we are also working on a new collection. We want to bring this clothing product to everyone worldwide – that’s why we ship worldwide!
Where did your get the idea to create cooking videos?
We have always said that people should not just do fitness exercises when they want to build muscles or lose weight. It is also important that they look at what they eat. You don't need to starve yourself. Our cook Krishna works in an Ayurvedic Clinic in Germany and that´s why we present some Ayurvedic food.
Where did you get the idea to create motivational videos?
If you look at our community, you’ll see that a lot of people suffer from depression especially amongst the older generation. They forget about what they already have because they are all hardworking people. That’s why they want to have more and more. I say clearly to be happy with what you have and to think back to how things were before.
We have a lot of topics we address such as why single mothers and single fathers should stay positive, or why failure is important in life. At the end of the day, if we can help some people with our videos, we are more than happy. I live by the quote by Will Smith, “Your life will become better by making someone else’s life better.”
TFM also present German videos – is that right?
Yes, we also produce German videos as we collaborate with a local German television station.
Have you ever been to Canada? If yes, are you coming again?
I was there in 2012 and I have to say that Canada is such a beautiful country! I’ve met so many talented people and I also like all the Tamil organizations there. I’m very proud of this. We are planning to come back to Canada and we might even go to all the street food festivals there!
What is your plan for the future?
First of all, we will continue to produce TFM videos in German and Tamil. Our cooking show in Season 3 will come out soon, with a lot of inspirational talk with professional soccer players from Germany and more. I also plan to go to the cinema industry in the future. Let´s see what the future will bring!
Have any people from cinema industry in Tamil Nadu supported your project?
Yes, Madhavan and Kushboo retweeted Tamil Fitness Motivation! That was really nice of them.
What are some accomplishments you are proud of?
I am thankful to have a blessed life and a wonderful family. I won’t say that I’m proud of anything just yet because if I say that I’ve reached many things, I’m going to stop continuing the hard work. I say always to myself, be hungry and if things don't go well, don´t stop! Keep continuing the hard work. We started our channel in 2014 and we’ve never thought to stop this project. As Kamal Hassan Sir once said, “Your Life is like a race. Don't stop. Just keep it going.” Congratulations on recently opening the Raavana Restaurant. Can you tell us about what type of food we could expect from your restaurant?
Thank you. Starting this November, we are doing a catering service in Germany with Ayurveda and South Indian food. We offer services for school, companies, weddings and senior homes. A lot of Germans are interested in our food, so it's a good way to bring our food to them. The future plan is to open a restaurant in Germany in 2018.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers about TFM?
Whatever you do in life, be happy! Forget about competition with other people. You must have the drive to compete with yourself and try to get better each day.
Hopefully, I’ll get to meet the TamilCulture team one day! Keep up the good work - go get it! One love from Germany.
- Interview by Siva Samson Ravindran