Calcutta Calling


2006 / 16 minutes

Directed by
André Hörmann
Country of production
Germany India

“Business Process Outsourcing” is the fastest growing industry in the world. In India, approximately 350,000 people are currently working in call centres to maintain the contact between western companies and their customers. Vikhee Uppal is one of them. From a busy office in Calcutta, he pretends to be a guy named Ethan Reed and calls Americans, Brits and Australians to try and sell them cell phones and subscriptions. Vikhee hopes to make it in this sector. On the bulletin board, we see that he and his colleagues keep track of who sells the most. The Americans are the most impolite: they yell at the salespeople and hang up on them. The English, on the contrary, are the most willing to listen to their sales pitch. Even though Vikhee pretends to be a westerner at work, Indian traditions remain very important for him. He wants to get married to a girl from Punjab, and if he doesn’t succeed, his family will find a bride for him. At work, Vekhee gets tutored in English. Each night, he watches English soccer matches to see what the people on the other end of the line actually look like.

Language and subtitles
English (no subtitles)
South Asia