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  • Tina Nandi

#SSSMovie Interview: "Chain" Jeyapaul

Domestic Interview with “Chain” Jeyapal!

Logistics of Interview – “Chain” Jeyapal and Robert Stephens in Mumbai, India (9.00 pm IST)

Medium of International Communication: English Language Questions, Tamil Language Answers, and Translation by Mr. Wilbur Sargunaraj (Yes, that is correct!!! The Simple Superstar himself is the translator!)

RS:  Vannakam Mr. “Chain” Jeyapal!

CJ: (squints eyes, folds hands) Vannakam Robert Sir.

RS:  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  Where are you from?  What do you do?

CJ:  My native is Tirunelveli, and I currently live just outside Villupuram with my family. In our village there are 2,000 people.  I am a driver!  In fact, I just took a bank loan and purchased a white Omnivan!

RS:  Wow! Hearty congratulations sir!  That is quite an accomplishment!

CJ: (beaming smile!)  Rombanandreeeeeee!!!!!

RS:  From what I understand, one day Wilbur Sargunaraj told you “Jeyapal, I want you to act in the Simple Superstar movie.”  How did you react?

CJ: I was SHOCKED.  I was DELIGHTED!  I could not believe it!

RS:  And then what did you do?

CJ: I went and told my whole village! I ran through the streets yelling “Padam la nan nadeeka poren! Padam la nan nadeeka poren!”  I am going to act in a movie! 

RS: What! You told the whole village! All 2,000 people?

CJ: Ahhh! (waves hand in my direction as if that is a ridiculous question) I only needed to tell 10 people…then within a few minutes the whole village knew!   

Interruption at this point by Mr. Sargunaraj…

WS: I would like to say one thing here…

RS: Please go ahead sir.

WS:  At first Jeyapal was going to be in the movie playing the role of a driver.  A rather limited role.  But then, as the script developed, it turned out that his character became rather substantial.  In fact, without Jeyapal, the storyline falls apart.

RS: Excuse me?  Falls apart?   Are you saying that Simple Superstar the movie hinges on a common man, a driver from rural Tamil Nadu, who doesn’t speak English?

WS:  That is correct sir.

RS: Awesome! I love it!     

CJ: (jumps back in with a monologue after being sidelined for a bit!) I cannot believe that I am here, in Mumbai. I cannot believe the Love that I have received from Wilbur, and now from you. I am in disbelief.

RS: You have never been to Mumbai?

CJ: Never.  BUURRRRPPPPPP!!!!1uuhhhhhhhH! (eEEEUIAPPPAMMMMM!) Auditory interruption by Mr. Jeyapal!

CJ: I have never flown in a plane either. Tomorrow I am flying for the first time in my life.

RS: Wow! You must be really excited getting ready to fly?

CJ: Flying is exciting, but not what is most exciting.  I could save up money for years and then fly.  What is amazing to me, is that all of this is happening because of Love.     

(Interruption from Wilbur’s Amma (mother) in Trineluveli, who sends an SMS which says, ” Love to you and Thalaivar Jeyapal.” – which Wilbur then reads out to both of us)

CJ: Don’t call me “Thalaivar!” That is for big people!

WS: But you are Jeyapal, you are!!!  You may not be Thalaivar to the world, but to your family, your community, you are Thalaivar! A Simple Superstar!

RS: Jeyapal Sir, the world is listening, what would you like to say?

CJ: (Thinks silently for about 20 seconds) Anbu. Love.

 RS: Love….?

CJ: Yes, Love.

RS: Why?

CJ: It is because of Love that I am here. 

RS: Can you explain?

CJ: Years ago I went though the most challenging time of my life. In fact, if I told you of all the pain and suffering I went through, you could make another movie…I was brought to Hell and back over the last 10 years. 

RS: But then something happened?

CJ: Wilbur’s Amma, in the midst of my and my family’s pain, showed unconditional Love. Absolute unconditional Love. The actions of one lady changed my life.

RS: And then from there you met Wilbur?

CJ: That is right. She linked me to Wilbur.  Today, it is because of Wilbur’s love for me, that I am sitting here beside you. I am not here because of money. I am here because of Love. And my desire is that the Love which I have been shown, I can extend to others.

RS: What would you say to people who have been hurt? Those who no longer believe in or trust Love? Or those who have never met someone like Wilbur’s mother?

 CJ: In life, troubles and pain will come. Valkay le, kastum varum.  But you cannot give up hope.  You have to strengthen your heart. Manase deedapadathanum I have strengthened my heart so I can then share with others.

RS: Last Question: Why is your nickname “Chain?”

CJ: Because Love is like a chain. First, Amma got me. Then Wilbur got me. And then he got you.  And now we are all linked to one another.  In Bangalore this weekend we are going to connect with others. This is Chain. Love is like a Chain. We have to hold onto each other. It keeps on growing. We keep on linking.   

RS:  And this is life?

CJ:  Absolutely.

Keep on Linking.

Mr. “Chain” Jeyapal is a 10th standard passout whose favorite subject in school was “Sport.”  He is a sacrificially loving husband, father of two wonderfully mischievous children. A Simple Superstar.   

Location: Mumbai and Bangalore

Interviewer: Robert Stephens Translator: Wilbur Sargunaraj

Model/Interviewee: “Chain” Jeyapaul

Photographer: Tina Nandi

Note from the Photographer: While conducting these interviews, we’ve heard several times, “Jeyapaul is the sweetest man ever” and this past weekend I had the privilege of seeing that for myself. Forever smiling and engaging with everyone around him. He is also a brilliant actor which you will see for yourself very soon!!

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