After his entire department is outsourced, American novelty products salesman Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) is sent to India to train his replacement, Puro (Asif Basra), at the local call centre. As he gets to know his conscientious and likeable Indian colleagues, including the charming but opinionated Asha (Ayesha Dharker), Todd realizes he has much to learn - not only about India, but about himself.
Review by Louise Keller:
A charming film about preconceptions, culture clash and love, Outsourced gives us a fresh perspective on overseas call centres. Learn about India, Ayesha Dharker's Asha respectfully suggests to newly arrived sales consultant Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton), whose seemingly impossible task is to teach the Mumbai Indian team super fast selling techniques and school them on American colloquialisms.
He might have a fancy title on his business card, but Todd (or Mr Toad, as his new Indian colleagues call him) has a task on his hands as he tries to explain to his eager replacement Puro (Asif Basra) what 'selling kitsch to rednecks' means. Besides, he has to acclimatise, manage his upset tummy and cope with the fact the toilet is a hole in the floor with no toilet paper. He learns the ropes and discovers that once he stops resisting his new environment life is a series of delightful new adventures. He realises too, that in order to increase his team's MPI (minutes per incident) productivity, he needs to ask for their help. Why pretend the call centre is in Chicago, when the Americana is made in China? The humour is gentle and never forced as Todd forges positive relationships with his colleagues. He teaches them to recite quotes from American movies: 'You had me at hello'; 'Life is like a box of chocolates'; 'Are you talkin' to me?', and they reciprocate by teaching Indian dancing.
The heart of the film comes from Todd's blossoming relationship with the lovely Asha, who alluringly smells of cardamoms, and is committed to an arranged marriage. There's an amusing sequence when they are forced to spend the night together and find themselves in the Kama Sutra Suite with heart-shaped bed, red candles and rose petals. There's a nice chemistry between them: Hamilton is perfect as Todd, who finds himself at life's crossroads while Dharker, with huge, liquid eyes that overflow with emotion is lovely.
Director John Jeffcoat captures the essence of Indian life - the bustle, the dust, the colour, the heat. Even the lone cow that wanders into the call centre is not unexpected. Uplifting and funny, this is a sweet film that takes the fish-out-of water concept and gives it a new slant.
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CAST: Asif Basra, Ayesha Dharker, Josh Hamilton, Arjun Mathur, Larry Pine, Matt Smith
PRODUCER: Tom Gorai
DIRECTOR: John Jeffcoat
SCRIPT: John Jeffcoat, George Wing
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Teodoro Maniaci
EDITOR: Brian Berdan
MUSIC: BC Smith
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Fali Unwalla
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Imagine - Starz
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Melbourne: Nov 1, 2007; Sydney: Nov 15, 2007
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.