General ramblings

Review: The Other End of the Line

The Other End of the Line claims to offer more insight into the lives of call center workers and how they struggle to merge their Indian and American identities. The movie stars Shriya Saran as the call center worker, Jesse Metcalfe as the guy on the “other end of the line”, Tara Sharma as Shriya’s confidante at the call center, Anupam Kher as Shriya Saran’s father, among other stars.

The plot of the story is not very realistic: Shriya is helping Jesse Metcalfe (high flyer, advertising business, hot, suave, good looking) sort through his credit card bills which have gotten over blown because of identity theft. Jesse, instead of canceling the account (under real-world-ideal-scenario) continues to use the card. Shriya calls him up every time she sees a charge on the account, to make sure that it is legitimate. Now, come on! Which call center employee is that good? I would really like to come across such a loving sales rep. Instead, I cringe every time my call is picked up by a call center employee. Shriya Googles up Jesse and realizes that he the rich, unattainable guy. All this while, she hides under the name of one “Jessica” and purports to be from San Francisco. Jesse asks her out on a date. Shriya turns him down initially. But you see, she’s also under going a personal crisis: She’s getting married to a mumma’s boy! To escape from her marriage woes, she decides to take up Jesse’s offer, hops on Air India and arrives at San Francisco! When she sees Jesse for the first time, she doesn’t have the nerves to go up to him and tell him the truth. Instead, the director makes them collide in a hotel lobby, fall on top of each other…Bollywood ishtyle. What follows next is a lot of song and dance, long walks on the beaches, and no touching please!Β 

Finally, Jesse comes to know about Shriya’s true identity. Tempers fly, lots of bad mouthing, Shriya gets back home, ready to marry mumma’s boy. But America has taught her some stuff: Live for yourself. Do things that make you happy, blah blah. She goes to the boy’s house and tells him exactly that (as if it’s a sin to do things that make you happy). She breaks off and resigns the rest of her life to her call center job. She’s soon promoted. Jesse flies to India to woo her and everyone lives happily ever after.

Anupam Kher has been completely wasted in the movie. All he does is worry about his daughter and repeat cliched dialogues (“Stop acting americano and worry about your family also…you need to marry that guy for us”). Tara Sharma doesn’t have much of a role, except play the agony aunt. Shriya Saran acts well, even though the movie doesn’t really offer much. I suspect she took it up hoping that this would be her claim to international fame. Jesse looks hot. πŸ™‚Β 

If I were to go by what’s shown in the movie, then call center employees have weekly classes where they are taught the difference between Wendy’s and McDonald’s burgers, where they are taught American slangs, how to tackle abusive-spoilt-rich-American customers (exact words used) and are also kept up to date on Hollywood gossip. Indians have been portrayed as hard working…people who tolerate all the abuse. Americans have been portrayed as ignorant, rich spoilt brats. Oh, and all call center people start from New Jersey (callers from this region abuse the most) and then work their way to the West- San Francisco etc.Β 

The most unrealistic part of the movie is the fact that Shriya’s Indian accent is weird- she doesn’t even pronounce words like “familiar” and “accepted” properly. But her American accent is amazing! I’m sure that some of her foreign accent would rub off on her Indian accent too. This discord between two accents is something that I don’t agree with at all. Any Indian who stays in the US can tell you that much: The way you pronounce certain words changes and it is not even possible that you’ll pronounce “possible” as “phhhoosibl” in American accent” and pronounce it as “paw-sibbble” in Indian.Β 

I saw an American family sitting towards the back of the theater. They seemed to be enjoying the movie. My friend and I hated it. Then there was this other Indian family sitting right in front of us who couldn’t stop laughing either. Apart from us, I didn’t see anyone else in the theater.Β 

You can easily give this film a miss.

Rating: 3.5/10

Trailer:

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22 thoughts on “Review: The Other End of the Line

  1. lallopallo says:

    Cool review! I tend to agree with almost everything you said. I was pretty excited about the movie earlier as the premise of cross cultural romance, with the call center angle, looked very promising to me. But, then the reviews were not good (RT has 30% ratings) and I didnt want to waste my weekend evening watching ordinary movie in a theater. Unfortunately, before reading the reviews, I had committed my company to some non-Indian friends of mine who cared more about watching shriya saran than giving much heed to reviews. So,I had to give in.
    The movie was nothing more than a B grade romantic comedy, the sorts of which Hollywood churns out every now and then. But, I will still give it more than your 3.5, perhaps 5/10. I think there were few good moments in the movie plus Shriya Saran looked and acted pretty well.
    Apart from that, it had a contrived narrative structure with many implausible and cliched situations and sub plots.

  2. Great review. Thanks Ruhi. I was thinking of giving this movie a miss, but to the contrary, hubby suggested to have a great laugh watching it. And so, we shall πŸ˜€

  3. cool review..I never knew film like this existed πŸ˜› so i was never going to see this movie anyway .. :p and somehow i dont like these type of movies ..
    Bend it like beckam was just ok.. after that i dint see any

  4. @ Ruhi:

    Jesse Metcalfe’s standards have fallen dramatically. Kahan Eva Longoria, kahan Gangu teli, eh? πŸ˜‰ Yes it is mean but in love stories, the basic premise is that the chemistry should be obvious or at least believable. In this case, it does not convince.

  5. Shriya does look good – you’ve to agree that much. But yes, she should stop opening her mouth…That accent thing? Arre dubbing main mismatch hai – nothing to do with the actress – it’s the director at fault.

    Anupam ka tho savaal hee nahi – he seems to do some 20 crappy movies and then do 1 good. Now that he has done Tahaan, you can safely miss the next 15. πŸ™‚

    Tara Sharma’s days are over & she seems to have come to terms with it. Good that she hasn’t opted for bhojpuri or c-grade movies for the “heroine” tag sake.

    N call centre employees!! no one is tht good for sure..but I did get a call at 5 AM 1 morning because someone misused my card – the bank had automatically blocked my card, refused the transaction and then they called me. Which bank? This one will surprise you – ICICI!!

  6. Lallo- Glad that you agree! I didn’t intend to watch this movie. Hell, I didn’t even know that it existed…until 3 hours before the show. Sheer boredom made me watch it.

    Kiran- Yeah it’s OK for time pass types. As long as you go with a light heart and are prepared, then you’ll be just fine. πŸ™‚

    Arvind- Don’t worry, even I didn’t know about this movie πŸ™‚ But I did like Bend It like Beckam quite a bit! I could watch it again.

    Kalafudra- You can definitely watch it just for the heck of it! One of those very average movies- just don’t expect anything much. πŸ™‚

    Shefaly- Not sure if I can draw a parallel between Jesse and Eva Longoria…I’m not a big fan of hers anyway πŸ˜‰ But yes, this is a stupid, terrible movie.

    Dinu- Oh you have? So do you agree with the “New Jersey Area, SFO Area” etc? Do people really start working with New Jersey Area callers first? Are there classes on Hollywood film stars? Or was the call center job just way too glamorized? I would love to read what you’ve got to say here.

  7. Raman- Your comment got registered right when I was typing mine. πŸ™‚ Yes, Shriya does look good- no doubt about that. Just wondering what made her take up this movie. Oh by the way, I haven’t seen her in any other movie. I did watch “A Wednesday” with Anupam Kher in it. It was a good movie- nice plot, but again…quite ‘cliched’. I haven’t yet seen Tahaan and I have heard that it’s very good.

    What ICICI did with you makes sense- blocking the card first! I haven’t dealt with ICICI much, but I’ve heard that they are nothing stellar. what was shown in this movie (letting the customer use the card and keep calling him to validate the transactions) was so frikkin’ illogical. Anything for a plot, I guess. πŸ™‚

  8. Nice review Ruhi. In fact even though you have said its not worth watching I feel like watching it as the story sounds interesting! I mean, kind of different. I think I want to see this movie after reading your review!

  9. ICICI has a bad reputation, yes. And a guy called me – so you know why I didn’t choose the “let the expenses happen n call me later to validate” option πŸ™‚

  10. Nice review. I have seen another similar call center movie whose name I cant recall now. It was bad. After I decided to stay away from any such American-Indian connection movies.

  11. @ Ruhi

    Er, I wasn’t comparing Jesse M and Eva L. Different genders.

    On a different note, I am curious – which bank’s service IS stellar? πŸ™‚ And why?

  12. Nita- sounds good πŸ™‚ you won’t get bored for sure…with all the drama happening.

    Raman- Ahemm…you could be gay for all we know. πŸ™‚

    Reema- Yes, most of them are bad! The last one that I liked was Bend It Like Beckham.

    Shefaly- Haha! Well to tell you the truth, I really like Chase and Bank of America. πŸ™‚ Never had a reason to complain. Haven’t dealt with Indian banks much.

    Puloma- Please don’t comment just to leave links to your articles. I’ll remove it. Thanks.

  13. @ Ruhi

    Hmm. I have been a customer BofA in 3 countries. And unlike many retail banking customers, I have hopped about banks a lot πŸ™‚ In plain vanilla services in retail banking, it is difficult to be special. I would save the word ‘stellar’ for AmEx, whose value-added services are yet unmatched by any other retail product vendor.

    Amongst Indian banks, ICICI Bank is alone in having a full value chain covered as far as NRI services are concerned. They at least try; the others do not even try and you have to pay hand over fist for basic services and for the dubious pleasure of talking with their employees, typically desis with faux American/ British accent and elaborate scripts which are triggered by specific words I may use. Funny some times but ugh at most others!

  14. When did this movie come out? I didn’t even get to hear about it. Maybe it was meant only for the spoilt-rich-American brats. I don’t think they even did any publicity in here.

    But looking at the review and the story, guess they just saved their money.

    The money sounds waaaaaay to cliched. I mean, I don’t think the typical falling on each other and walking around on the beach works anymore. The audience is a lot more mature nowadays. Or so I choose to believe.

  15. I knew that was coming and hence clarified. I believe none of the banks’ services are stellar simply because there is a huge disconnect between the guy or ma’am who dreams up a service & the guy or ma’am who has to render the service. The strategists hardly have customer interaction & the executor hardly understands or even tries to understand strategy. I have had ICICI & AirTel Customer Care telling me that I should look for a different service provider if I am not satisfied with what they offer.

  16. Shefaly- I use Amex and I agree that they are very good! I’ve never had a reason to complain, except for the fact that Visa/Mastercard are more widely accepted compared to Amex. Funny that you mentioned ICICI- I just spoke to a rep today, because I wanted to avail an NRI service. They were quite polite and helpful, but they made me repeat everything three times, just for verification purposes. Hell, I said thank you 5 times in 15 seconds. Way too polite!

    Ish- Maybe this was made just to cater to the western audience. Call center jobs/outsourcing are hot topics here. πŸ™‚ But yes, the movie was really horrible and was filled with cliches- typical arranged marriage crap, girl trying to sacrifice her happiness for her family’s, falling in love with a gora, …ZzzzZ. Save your $$$ for some bhel puri please. πŸ™‚

    Raman= Maybe this a classic management mismatch where a simple hierarchical structure instead of a flatter structure is followed. Plain sad actually. Nothing pisses me off more than the customer rep telling me to find some other service, just because I’m trying to tell them what they may want to do right. I think it’s plain arrogance on their part. And this is not limited to ICICI/Airtel- it’s a national problem!

  17. Wow u guys talk about so many serious grown up stuff on ur comments….
    I was wondering wat the director of the movie was thinking when he pitched this idea to the producer…”ok we are gonna make this ridiculous movie….it will be so ridiculous..that it wont even release in the united states…”

  18. there was no class on hollywood movies πŸ˜‰ but, they train us on ” American Culture”, basics, which is a mix of history, geography, art, literature etc etc ..

    its a different kind of life, minus the job pressure ( which is HEAVY ) I really loved it πŸ™‚ and friends you make there, you will never forget them, that’s special ….

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