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!
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
You can easily give this film a miss.