Friday, May 05, 2006

Bombay Calling

Most of us would never want to work at a call centre, but in many parts of the world this outsourced occupation is offering new hope for youth who have the ability to speak English. Offering up to 10,000 rupees a month ($300 Canadian), it's a tough and competitive occupation. If you miss a day you'll be fined (never mind one's wife is giving birth) and if you don't make a sale you'll be standing up until you can close one.

Bombay Calling, which played today at Toronto's Hot Docs festival, gives us a window into the world of Indian youth living the good life. With what we would consider a meagre salary, they can offer their parents their own apartment, eat out every day and party 'til dawn. Beyond that, Bombay Calling seeks to point out the parallel between increased prosperity in India and the westernization of this large nation; interviews are conducted outside call centres at Pizza Hut, while Nescafe and Coca-Cola ads dot the cityscape. We all know it's inevitable, with globalization and free trade companies can jump across borders and find new markets. Realisticaslly, this documentary shows us that this movement works both ways, and it appears to be a win-win situation.

Bombay Calling was produced by the National Film Board of Canada and has been acquired by National Geographic.


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