the world’s smallest muscle man

The documentary series exploring remarkable stories of human experience continues. This instalment profiles Aditya ‘Romeo’ Dev, a 20-yearold Indian man who stands at 2’9” tall and weighs just one and a half stone. Despite Romeo’s diminutive stature, he has risen to international stardom as a bodybuilder and dancer.

One of only a few hundred known primordial dwarves on the planet, Romeo Dev has spent much of his life housebound, protected by his parents from the cruel taunts of an unforgiving world. Behind closed doors, however, Romeo would spend his time exercising and dancing to the tunes of his favourite Punjabi rapper, Jazzy B.

In 2006, following months of intensive training with custom-built 1.5kg dumbbells, Romeo was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s smallest bodybuilder. News of his achievement spread, and people were soon flocking to Romeo’s gym from miles around to watch displays of his dancing skills and weightlifting prowess. He is now famous throughout India and makes regular appearances on television.

After pictures of Romeo training in his gym were released earlier this year, the international media and talent scouts have been hot on his trail. This week’s Extraordinary People tells the story of how Romeo came to be a star and follows the next stage of his adventure, as he and his parents travel to America in search of global success.

On his travels, Romeo meets Jason Acuna – better known as Wee-Man thanks to his appearances in ‘Jackass’ – who advises him how to further his career while avoiding being stereotyped. Romeo and his family also meet a photographer who specialises in taking pictures of dwarves, and learn that Romeo is one of a number of primordial dwarves with a rising profile.

The film climaxes in Las Vegas where Romeo watches a performance by the world-famous Cirque de Soleil circus troop. After enjoying the show, he then has a chance to impress the casting director with his very own audition on the big stage.

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1