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'Survivor 46': Voted out Bhanu Gopal 'won a million hearts' playing an honest, vulnerable game

"I'm not going to say anything mean or anything about anybody, because that's not Bhanu," he said

'Survivor 46': Voted out Bhanu Gopal 'won a million hearts' playing an honest, vulnerable game (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
'Survivor 46': Voted out Bhanu Gopal 'won a million hearts' playing an honest, vulnerable game (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)

While eliminated Survivor 46 castaway Bhanu Gopal might not have had the most comprehensive strategy, he won the hearts of people around the world playing the game with honesty and vulnerability.

"I feel like I've succeeded in playing Survivor," Gopal, a 41-year-old IT quality analyst told Yahoo Canada.

"After my vote off last night, a fan texted me saying her seven-year-old daughter looked at her and said, 'Why are they voting Bhanu off? He doesn't want a million dollars, he won a million hearts.' And that says something."

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While his Yanu Tribe mates — Kenzie Petty, Q Burdette and Tiffany Nicole Ervin — have been quite open about wanting to see Gopal go home, things got really tense when they found out he told Ben Katzman and Liz Wilcox details about his tribe while on the journey, subsequently revealing that to the Yanu tribe as well.

But Gopal maintains that he stands by his decision to navigate Survivor with honesty, even though honesty doesn't tend to pay off in this game.

"I'm a super fan of the show, I watched from episode one of Season 1, to the latest episode, I've seen the greatest playing on the show," he said. "There's no one way of playing the game, but when I envisioned Bhanu playing it, I thought, I want to play the game I wanted someone [to play when I was watching]."

"When I was watching it for so long, I wanted a glimpse of hope, I wanted to be inspired and motivated. So if I could win a seven-year-old's heart, I've done it. ... Money will come and go, but you always look for the honest person. ... I gave it my all, I didn't quit the game. ... After 10 dislocations of my right shoulder and having a major shoulder surgery just a few months before I went on the show, I was there next to Q ... and giving it my all."

FIJI - MARCH 4:

Just before Gopal left the island, at the end of Wednesday night's episode, we saw him open up to his tribe and Jeff Probst about his upbringing, living in poverty in India, with similarities to what castaways experience on Survivor, and being raised by a single teenage mother. It's something he described as a "cathartic" experience now.

"To tell my story, to show that that's where I came from," he said. "I grew up on streets, with nothing, and from there to here, I did that because of hard work."

While Petty, Ervin and even Burdette had some unkind things to say about Gopal, who they believed was directly linked to the tribe's lack of success in Survivor, he doesn't have anything negative to say back to them — as you would likely expect from Gopal.

"I always felt like I was on the outside," Gopal said. "When I saw that - what can I say?"

"I'm going to leave everything to audience interpretation. I'm not going to say anything mean or anything about anybody, because that's not Bhanu."