It has been almost two weeks since my last post..sheesh! Oh well.
Writers (WGA):George Wing (written by) &
John Jeffcoat (written by)
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content.
Runtime:USA:103 min (theatrical version) / Canada:98 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
A couple of weeks ago I managed to catch the independent movie "Outsourced" at the TheaterN in Wilmington. I absolutely loved the movie. Here is a link to the movie's website, the producer Tom Gorai has a facebook site too! link
If you believe that indie cinema is good for you and you want to try and spread the word about this film and try to see if you can get it screened in your area, here is a link to what you can do.
Trailer of the movie and my "Not A Review" after that.
"Outsourced" begins when a Seattle call center manager ,Todd (Josh Hamilton) is told he is being downsized, his only option is to go to India as a consultant to train the call center people there, in things like sounding "American" and to try and get the MPI (minutes per incident) on the phone down to 6 minutes from the 13-15 minutes they were spending per customer.
Todd has little choice, he has no interest in going to
Todd agrees reluctantly and is educated in a few more of the differences when his hosts get shocked that he eats with his left hand and gets a demo about why that is not done, this was pretty hilarious. He also gets grilled about not being married (is it because he is gay?), no living with his parents and not seeing them often. Todd being American does not have as strong a sense of his identity as do the Indians around him especially when it comes to family ties and social obligations.
Todd's goal to improve the MPI is helped both by Puro but even more by the smart, charming and outspoken Asha (played brilliantly by Ayesha Dharker) his best employee who has a crush on him. She asks Todd why it's necessary for Indian call-center workers to pose as Americans while selling cheap junk made in
He is however not challenged by his job and has a tough time believing that the employees like some of the tacky stuff their company sells, but his transformation has slowly begun. While on an impulsive trip to a McDonald's knockoff he meets a fellow American who offers him a simple bit of advice "I was resisting
His transformation is complete when he takes a dip in a local water tank (that he overlooks from his host's house) following his dousing with colors after the Indian festival of Holi. I could not help but notice the metaphorical reference here to baptism and to a spiritual meaning attached to the cleansing of oneself in water something prominent in Hinduism as well.
As Todd and Asha draw closer he comes to understand
Asha in a lot of ways exemplified the changing face of the Indian woman who, thanks to education and economic freedoms appears to be stepping out of the box that tradition and culture create for her. She is engaged to be married to a guy from a family (that her family knows for generations) since she was a child, and in Todd she sees someone who will let her express her freedom. So is what they feel for each other love?
Asha explains to him that given the cultural background that this time with him is like a "Vacation in
I thought this was a more honest portrayal of a modern Indian woman than one often sees in some of the Bollywood movies. Where do Todd and Asha go from here? There relationship has something deeper in it and I would let you watch the movie to figure that one out.
There are quite a few funny moments in the movie including one where the Indian and American words for an eraser had me in splits. Indians call an eraser "rubber" which causes confusion with their American customers. "Rubber" is slang for a condom as Todd tells them, much to the chagrin, shock and amusement of the Indian employees. The funniest part was when one of them looks at it and wonders aloud "How does that work?" Look for a hilarious scene where Asha does the American accent and Todd the Indian way of talking, including the shake of the head (Clip below).
The movie has captured
I thought the director John Jeffcoat, does a great job here in how he uses a light hearted movie to portray the different cultural nuances on both sides, their effects on love, work and friendship. He also examines the effects of globalization on people and their sense of identity.. personal, cultural and national. He does it in a light hearted manner using humor and some astute observations that make the message subtle but a very important one.
Events in the movie reflect the reality that the individual on all sides of this issue is powerless before the economic forces. Traditional values and notions do get questioned and change is scary but it is often how one reacts to change that matters what the movie is saying to its audience and that the call is to be pragmatic about it.
This is one heck of a charming movie.
Hilarious clip from the movie where Asha and Todd imitate each others ways of speaking (American and Indian).