Outsourced

October 9, 2007
By

A few days back i saw a screening of this movie called Outsourced at the South Asian International Film Festival SAIFF. This movie is about an American guy whose company outsources his work to a call center in India, and sends him to train the person who was going to be his replacement manage that call center! Interesting enough for a dekko.

So our man, the hero – Josh Hamilton, very reluctantly travels to India because his stock options are all locked and quitting the job would mean he loses it all. Very valid reason. Smart man.

He lands at the Mumbai Bombay airport only to be surrounded by about 1000 taxi drivers (Ok. I added a zero to that to add some spice. Btw hero likes spicy food, and the boss made that a point for him to come to India). He finally picks a guy who turns out be be, well, an Autorikshaw driver! Funny scene that one.

What does Mr white guy eat first thing in India? A gola (some sort of ice cream. Only with ice and no cream). Obviously his stomach doesn’t quite like it. Then he is taken to auntyji’s guest house. Aunty looked like the ba of tulsi fame. A typical indian woman who doesn’t like the fact that hero is not married despite being so old (a little over 30), or that he doesn’t live with his parents, or that he eats with his left hand (Please. i am not going to describe the reason for that. Go watch the movie if you must know)

The call center is in the middle of some town a couple of hours away from Bombay. They are constructing the building themselves, ostensibly because there are so many call centers that there is no real estate left. Hmm. Ok. Interesting!

Hero is told that the performance of the call center is dismal and he needs to train the kids working there. He figures that the problems are their accents and the fact that they don’t understand American culture. When he tries to throw some pointers to neutralize the indian accent, or to fake American names, Ms Smartass (Ayesha Dharker) comes up with the ideals about not lying. She even has the cheek to say that the Indian accent is better because we pronounce each word clearly, as against the Americans who eat up a part of it (In-ter-net vs Inn-er-net)

Ms smartass turns out to be quite the player later on. She btw got engaged at the age of four! Just like all of us Indians do. So very cliched.

So there. hero gradually starts learning a thing or two about India and Indian people. He takes things quite sportingly, i must say. He gets caught outdoors on Holi, and actually joins the people in splashing color around.

A lot of the stuff comes across as realities of the current times. Eventually, the parent company decides to move the call center to China, since it was even cheaper than India. Greed Capitalism wins. Lesson 1. When hero announces this to the young 20something staff of his call center, they don’t even blink. He is surprised because he was certainly shocked when he was told that he might be losing his job. It is left to his indian counterpart to explain that these kids will find a job within a week owing to the plethora of call centers in the country. Lesson 2.

Lesson 3. India will never change. People might make millions of dollars, but there will still be Autorikshaws (go-kart hero calls them). Golas will never go out of vogue. Holi will always be celebrated with a crowd of random strangers as if they are your best pals. India will always run on jugaad. Indians will always be…Indians.

Oh..what is the first thing hero does after coming back to the US? Call up his mom.

Worth the 18 dollars i paid to watch the movie. Good entertainment.

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14 Responses to “ Outsourced ”

  1. Nita on October 10, 2007 at 1:01 am

    This is an excellent review. You gripped me from the first word word to the end. It sounds like an interesting film, with all its cliches! I wish they showed these kind of movies here!

  2. Shefaly on October 10, 2007 at 2:54 am

    Interesting review! I bet the chap romances Ayesha Dharker at some stage. Poor girl has to work such a put-on accent for all her ‘international’ work. So much for international careers…

    You paid $18 for the film? And I thought that *I* was ripped off paying $9 for Ocean’s Twelve some 3 years ago in SFO. You can see I was so upset I still remember, although I have to pay £9 to watch a film in the cinema hall in the UK…

    Interesting, but who is the lead? I know you give his name but my question is why do these random guys get picked in these films. There was this po-faced, not even remotely handsome or remotely Darcy-ish chap in Bride And Prejudice… Is this Hamilton chap well-known or like the First Gentleman of Daytime TV, to borrow a phrase from Joey?

    Thanks.

  3. amreekandesi on October 10, 2007 at 5:49 am

    Thanks Nita and Shefaly.

    I had never heard the name of josh hamilton before watching this movie. So i guess he is not really famous. I suppose these are small, low budget movies, so cant afford brad pitts. Though this guy was quite handsome.
    As for Ms Smartass, that was interesting. He doesn’t romance her. She romances him. Literally, she tells him that since she is getting married soon, she might as well have a good time. Holiday in Goa, she refers to the fling. Another pointer to the changing times in India?

    For special events such as this, the tickets are more expensive than regular movie theaters($11 in newyork. cheaper elsewhere). 9 pounds is pretty crazy!

  4. mahendrap on October 10, 2007 at 6:29 am

    Nice review, AD (is it ok to call you that?).

    You are probably right, these low-budget films are like the equivalent of Sundance ones, so they can’t afford big-ticket leads.

    The about-turn in the standard guy flirts with gal formula is interesting. And Goa!? Wow!

    The SAIFF needs to outsource and reduce its ticket prices if it wants greater publicity for South Asian films. $18 is a rip-off!

  5. pr3rna on October 10, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Great review @amreekandesi.Although $18 to watch a movie, sounds expensive.

  6. amreekandesi on October 10, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Thanks Mahendra (sure you can call me AD) and Prerna.
    Ok. I lied. The ticket was 15 bucks, and they added 3 dollars for online purchase.

    I was going to see a movie called Dharm at the same festival. That would have cost $30!

  7. madhurisinha on October 10, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Very nice review AD,
    I saw some clippings on Showbiz India last Saturday.
    Heard that Dharm is a nice one too (of course it has seasoned actors like Supriya Pathak and Pankaj Kapoor). The director has sued IFF because Eklavya has been sent as an Oscar contender.

  8. www.foodthatheal.info » Outsourced on October 10, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    […] amreekandesi wrote a fantastic post today on “Outsourced”Here’s ONLY a quick extractBtw hero likes spicy food, and the boss made that a point for him to come to India). He finally picks a guy who turns out be be, well, an Autorikshaw driver! Funny scene that one. What does Mr white guy eat first thing in India? … […]

  9. kdtruth on October 14, 2007 at 12:45 am

    I liked the movie, it was funny. But it does not depict the reality about call centers or outsourced jobs. Outsourced jobs usually land in India’s metro cities or cities that have an infrastructure to support the centers. Never seen/heard a call center job outsourced to a village. And as usual it portrays a poverty stricken and un-clean India. You never get to see the high rise state of the art buildings in Mumbai or B’lore or Hyderabad and the 4 lane roads. In most Hollywood movies it always has to be a village and that too in the deep interiors of the country.

    Welcome to my blog. I agree with you. There were some(many?) cliches in the movie. But it wasnt as bad as how most other hollywood movies depict India. A lot of it was the reality.
    – AD

  10. sitaji on October 14, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks for the review. I’ll try and see it.

    Thanks Sitaji for visiting my blog. Hope you liked the review – AD

  11. remya on December 16, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    I rented the dvd and watched this movie around 2 months back… I felt the movie was hilarious :)

  12. Its a Small World | amreekandesi.com on December 18, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    […] by the downturn, and had decided to setup an office in India. He had been told to either quit, or move to India. He had had to accept the second option. There were mortgages to pay off, and he couldn’t […]

  13. […] movie reminded me of two movies. The first one is Outsourced, in which the American hero is sent to India to setup a call center, and falls in love with an […]

  14. Fashion watch on April 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks Mahendra (sure you can call me AD) and Prerna.
    Ok. I lied. The ticket was 15 bucks, and they added 3 dollars for online purchase.

    I was going to see a movie called Dharm at the same festival. That would have cost $30!

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