A few years ago, I came across YouTube sensation “Wilbur Sargunaraj,” creator of “Love Marriage.” Since he released his self-titled debut album in 2009, Sargunaraj has gone on to win fans from across the world, who often appear in his videos. It’s hard to describe Sargunaraj’s Tamlish (Tamil + English) musical stylings to those unfamiliar with him. He’s the Tamil love child of coupling between Sacha Baron Cohen, Andy Samberg and Al Yankowitz. Or maybe he’s just Wilbur. Simple Superstar. First Class.
Friday night, the artiste arrives at the San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival, presented by 3rd i Films, to debut his feature-length, fan-produced film Simple Superstar. Prior to his arrival, Sargunaraj, who describes himself as having “a passion for humanitarian and social justice issues” was kind enough to email The Aerogram and tell us more about himself and his film. He also shared a video of his latest song, “Mark of the Man is the Mustache.”
What makes a ‘simple superstar’?
Being the best version of yourself.
You were called India’s first YouTube star by Times of India. Why do you think your work resonates with so many people across the world?
I think people enjoy seeing genuine and authentic encounters taking place on my YouTube videos. Maybe it also has to do with CQ (Cultural Intelligence) because having a high CQ means you have a strong sense of your own cultural identity. You know who you are and what you believe but you are equally interested to step out of what you feel is comfortable to engage with and learn from others!
What’s a typical day in the life of Wilbur?
Not very typical but when it IS typical it goes something like this: Before I get out of bed I stop and breathe deeply relishing the fact that I am alive! I ‘Carpe Diem’ almost everyday! I start with a good cup of tea (with milk and ¼ teaspoon sugar) or a filter coffee to start the day! Check email, social media (while listening to ambient music) edit any videos that we are about to release, chat with fans. Do my 3km run (If I’m on the road I do my imaginary skipping routine!) In the evening I try to FACE TIME and when I say that I mean REAL face to face time with friends and family! I usually wind down by watching documentaries (my favourite pastime!) take my vitamins and after that it’s just about time to sleep!
Did Wilbur ever find his love marriage?
I still have not found my ANNIE ROSE so the answer would be NO!
What’s Wilbur’s dreamgirl (or guy) like?
Dream girl: Come to the 3rd i San Francisco premiere of #sssmovie and find out!
Dream guy: I would like the lowe marriage with a girl but I dream that all guys will treat women with first class respect!
What’s Wilbur’s personal motto?
Make the common extraordinary!
Tell me three items Wilbur has on his person at any given moment.
A letter from my long lost love Annie Rose. My Walkman (I’m slow in making a switch over to new technology). A bottle of Bovonto (rural Tamil Nadu soft drink)
Your fans helped you make Simple Super Star. Tell us about the process.
A fan named Robert D. Stephens from USA who lives in Mumbai is my co-producer. All of the cast and crew are long time Wilbur fans who have been tracking with me on social media. Fans even pitched in for raising support for film festival applications. A fan named Sananda Banerjee from Kolkata walked me through a difficult time (health issues) after the film shoot. A fan from Glasgow, Dr. Christie sponsored the entire India tri-city premieres taking place this December! Madam April Young and Mr Alex Okita from San Francisco lent their talents for some animations! (Local connections!) In short this movie was made by the fans and I am thrilled to share this community grassroots effort with San Francisco and the world!!
Note: I will be making a HOW TO video in San Francisco with Madam April Young on HOW TO RIDE THE SAN FRANCISCO CABLE CAR.
Is there anything Wilbur won’t do in a YouTube video?
Make fun of people (I prefer laughing with people and not at them). Skydive. Bungee jump. Make cover of other songs!
You promised a keychain to anyone who comes to the San Francisco screening of “Simple Super Star” dressed in a lungi. How many keychains are you planning to bring?
I thought my stock was running low but I think I have over 30 keychains! I would be thrilled if 30 people came in lungi pants! What a sight that would be! Utterly first class!