chat YouTube star Wilbur Sargunaraj on moving from the internet to the big screen
Wilbur Sargunaraj is a Youtube sensation, and is famous for introducing westerners to the nuances of using the Indian latrine and the various ways of tying a lungi. For Indians going abroad, he has the one-stop guide on how to order a burger at drive-throughs. He says he is ‘35 years young’ and a ‘global citizen’. Wilbur is almost always touring the world.
He has one foot in Toronto and one foot in Rajapalayam where his parents run an old-age home for the destitute. He peppers his responses with the classic ‘Wilbur on YouTube’ quotes. He talks with an accent, and you wonder if it is an act or it really is him.Before YouTube, Wilbur toured and performed in the physical world. As times changed, Wilbur adapted to modern technology. In 2009, Wilbur uploaded his first music video, Love Marriage . As it went viral, he launched Wilbur World Wide . Wilbur’s videos have more than three million hits; “I never thought of ‘becoming’ popular and to this day, I release videos for the pure joy of creating them…not with a goal to be the next viral star,” he says.
He worked as a driver, waiter, baker, janitor, salesman and now he produces music and films. Wilbur strongly believes that his experience of different jobs made him the person he is today. His goal is to entertain, he says. “There is more to me than just making videos about toilets! I hope my forthcoming film, Simple Superstar will clarify this,” he says. The idea for this film, Simple Superstar came up in 2010 .
“I wanted to share my story. I wanted to talk about the hardships of being an artiste. Besides, it has always been a dream to work in a feature film. Never thought it would be my own!” he says. Simple Superstar , he adds is an ‘innovative’ film and a ‘first class story’. “The film has your regular ‘Wilbur How to’s’, musical hits and you’ll also see Wilbur beat up bullies on the street,” he says. He worked with an extremely small cast and crew, he handpicked .“The cast doubled up as crew and no one complained,” beams Wilbur. He is making this film along with Robert D. Stephens, an architect from Mumbai. The film is set in Dubai, Mumbai, Chennai, and Tirunelveli. This is an English language film, peppered with Tamil and has been subtitled in English. The movie has been wrapped up and they have started duplicating the film for festival screenings and submissions.
“In India we are looking at the Mumbai International Film festival for our film premiere and we also hope to get into the International Film Festival of India which takes place in Goa at the end of 2013. I think we will be organising the launches in Chennai, Bangalore and other cities as well,” says Wilbur.
I wanted to talk about the hardships of being an artiste, besides it has always been a dream to work in a feature film.