Review

CIFF 2013: Simple Superstar

Indian YouTube sensation Wilbur Sarunaraj pokes fun at social classes in fictional comedy Simple Superstar.

Indian YouTube sensation Wilbur Sarunaraj pokes fun at social classes in fictional comedy

In India, Wilbur Sarunaraj is a YouTube sensation. He uses the social media platform to mock the country's social classes. (Simple Superstar/YouTube )

In India, Wilbur Sarunaraj is a YouTube sensation. He's a comedian, a singer of simple satirical songs and part of what he claims is a music genre braiding Indian music and Western electronica. But there’s a serious side of the music, one that lampoons and parodies India's class structures.   

Found in translation here is a man who cares about the lower classes…hard not to like this guy, even when only one in five jokes are hitting.- Mario Trono 

Sarunaraj comes from a poor province where his popularity is off the scale. He wants to champion the lower classes through over-the-top hi-jinx.

In his words, he’s “making the common man extraordinary.” While we see nods to Sarunaraj's background in this movie, it's a fictional depiction of his life as a bellboy and attempt to become a recording star. Along the way, he makes a visiting Canadian his pal, stands up to a snooty doctor who butts lines and puts on a concert for poor geriatrics.

Showtimes

​Saturday at 2:30 p.m. 

Sunday at 6:30 p.m. 

Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market 

To best get a sense of Sarunaraj, visit his stomping grounds on YouTube, where you’ll discover that his catch phrase is “veddy good, first class.” Or, imagine an Indian version of a cross between Flight of the Concords characters, Weird Al Yankovic, Austin Powers and Borat. Then add a social conscience.  

See it or not? 

Parts of this comedy will work with Western audiences and some won’t. But what’s found in translation is a man who cares about India's lower classes. Add in the fact that Simple Superstar was funded by fans who appear in the film and it gets hard not to like this guy, even when only one in five jokes are hitting.

About the Author

Mario Trono

Calgary Eyeopener movie reviewer

Mario Trono, a confessed visual culture addict, is a film and art reviewer obsessed with finding interesting things to look at and tell people about. He daylights as a film professor at Mount Royal University. You can follow him on Twitter at @MarioTrono and hear his DVD reviews Friday at 6:50 a.m. MT on the Calgary Eyeopener.

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