How would you feel if you were suddenly told that you had lost your job due to outsourcing? Plenty of companies have chosen to move the production of goods, customer services and/or other tasks to cheaper locations or to other countries, in order to cut costs and make more money.
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Outsourced is a light-hearted, romantic comedy that was released in 2006.
Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) suddenly finds out that his job, along with the rest of the department, has been outsourced to a call center in India. To make matters worse, Todd is manipulated by his boss into traveling to India against his will to train his replacements.
Although things get off to a bumpy start in the bustling city of Bangalore, Todd slowly but surely finds his way to the heart of Indian culture, and Indian working life. He also takes an unexpected journey into his own heart.
Outsourced presents a humorous look at how the American and Indian cultures clash in terms of language, societal norms, gender roles, music and dance, and business culture. Todd, or "Mr. Toad" as he is called by his new colleagues, learns a lot about his new surroundings by trial and error. But his most important lesson is learned when he realises that in order to get the call center up to American standards, he must learn more about India; he must surrender to their culture.
After watching the film, work on the following questions and tasks.
- What does Mr Todd do to learn about India?
- How does Todd’s character develop during his stay?
- How would you describe Asha's character? Would you characterise her as typically Indian?
Setting and Plot
- List some of the contrasts between the 2 settings (India and the US) in the film.
- The film has a false ending. What effect does this have, and in your opinion is it a good way to end the film? Why?
- What are the main themes of this film?
- The film presents many cultural clashes not only during Todd's arrival but also throughout his stay (celebrations, table manners, marriage traditions, family relations, etc). Describe some of them.
- What does the movie tell you about India's social classes?
- While the employees of the call centre speak British English, Todd speaks American English. What misunderstandings occur because of this? How do these misunderstandings affect business?
- What kind of measures does Todd introduce to improve the working environment at the call centre?
- Why is the identity of the Indian workers to be disguised?
- Describe the celebration of Holi?
- What is the American take on the phenomenon of outsourcing and what is the Indian?
- Why is the call centre in Bangalore further outsourced to China and what statement does it make about American corporate values around money and employees?