Outsourced (2006) was a small independent movie, and it had the same premise as the now cancelled TV show (2010-2011) with some of the same characters. Cultures clash in this delightful romantic comedy. The movie starts out with Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton), an American Sales Representative, and Manager of a Call Center for a Novelty products company in Seattle Washington.
Todd is called into the office of his manager, and is told that his entire department is being laid off, and is being outsourced to India. Todd can stay on to work for the company, but he has to go to India. Todd can only come back to the U.S. only after training the new manager, and the Call Center in order to reach th goal of a six minute call time on all sales.
Todd who I like to call the American is out of his element when he arrives in India. There is a lot of commotion; there are people yelling and waving their hands, he has to run and jump on moving trains, and he quickly takes what he thought was a little taxi; but realizes it is a scooter with the body of a car. When Todd arrives he is greeted by a friendly Indian not realizing this is Todd’s replacement, Puro (Asif Basra), who then gives Todd a business card with his name on it, and with the not so subtle title of “Future Manager of the Novelty Call Center.”
At first Todd is very uncomfortable with the new surroundings. He has stomach problems from the Indian food, then a kid steals his cell phone on his way rushing to the bathroom, and he is having trouble teaching his new employees how to speak to Americans. At one point Todd is nearly at the breaking point, and very homesick that he tells a taxi driver to take him a long distance out of the way to a McDonald’s-to get a nice juicy burger only to find out that they are vegetarian burgers.
After a while of getting to know his employees things start to turn around. Todd finds out they like the novelty products which he finds to be very tacky; Todd then decides to create incentives for the call center employees by offering them a deal- if they can sell faster, and follow his teachings they will get some of the company’s products for free. Also, Todd allows them to wear more comfortable clothes, and to dress up their workspaces.
Todd manages an unique group of people, but one stands out from the rest; it is the outspoken Asha (Ayesha Dharker). Asha directs Todd into understanding India culture, her leadership stands out to Todd, and he promises her when he leaves she will be Assistant Manager of the Call Center.
Todd and Asha’s relationship becomes very close. Their romance becomes stronger when there is a mistake in the shipment of novelty products, and they have to take a trip together to a small island. The two get stuck on the isle when their boat is set on fire. The only room on the island is the Kamastutra Suite (Oh,yes), a room for traveling lovers. The two feels uncomfortable at first, but their attraction for one another is just too strong. Romance ensues, and the two end up in bed together.
There is trouble though in this relationship. Asha wants to be very secretive of their relationship, she confesses that she has been engaged to be married since the age of four, and it would be seen as wrong if there relationship is revealed.
There are many memorable moments in the film. It is funny when Todd tries to teach the Indians how to say Chicago in a Chicago accent, and the Indians in the call center kept butchering the accent. Also, Todd has some issues with one of the employees, Manmeet (which Todd sometimes pronounces as Man-meet) flirting with the customers. In the end Manmeet’s flirting with his customers pay off, he actually gets engaged to one of the customers on the phone. Additionally, Puro’s sucking up to Todd in hopes of taking Todd’s job is very funny; it’s obviously over the top- in his compliments, he would have made Eddie Haskell proud.
In the end Todd learns a lot about appreciating other cultures, and taking the time to find something good in the place he is in rather than sulk and complain. It’s a good lesson to learn. If you find your self traveling- whether to another State in the U.S. or another country try to explore, be curious take in all the culture you can, it may be an experience you remember for a lifetime. No matter how you feel about outsourcing this is a nice independent movie that deserves to be seen many times, you’ll probably find something new to enjoy every time.
Image Source outsourcedmovie.blogspot.com