|Time magazine cover, 2006|
Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) spends his days managing a call centre in Seattle until he gets the bad news from his boss his job has been outsourced to India. Adding insult to injury, Todd must travel to India to train his new replacement. He expects the worst experience of his life, and it certainly begins that way! As he navigates through the chaos of Bombay and an office paralyzed by constant cultural misunderstandings, Todd yearns to return to the comforts of home. But it is through his team of quirky yet likable Indian call centre workers, including his friendly and motivated replacement, Puro (Asif Basra), and the charming, opinionated Asha (Ayesha Dharker), that Todd realizes that he too has a lot to learn - not only about India and America, but about himself. He soon discovers that being outsourced may be the best thing that ever happened to him.
A fast paced and highly entertaining film that shows a lot about East meeting West in the global village of the XXI century. I have been to India many times and could fully identify with Todd as he finds his bearings amidst the customs and peculiarities of Indian society. Like him, I was mesmerized but then forcefully attracted to India.
And this is what this film is really about. It is not about outsourcing and its economic, social and political implications. The ending is good fun, unpredictable and ...feel good!
Of course this is the India of modern young call center workers, not the average India of village life, poverty and illiteracy. But it is an increasingly important part of India. It is the future of India.
The film ends with the Indian call center shutting down as jobs are shifted to China where they are still cheaper. I am not sure this is realistic, at least for call centers, since Indians have a hugh advantage when it comes to speaking English and learning an American accent. The Philippines, rather than China, could be a more realistic alternative.
See more of my reviews of films about India in this blog.
|Doonesbury mentions a paradox that Todd refers to in the movie Outsourced|