Bombay Calling Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal

You know those inevitable suppertime phone calls you get where there’s a delay on the line and some woman who sounds like she’s calling from the moon goes in a thick Indian accent, "Hello, this is Sandra calling with a very special offer…” and you’re all irritated and your supper is getting cold and you get her off the line as quickly as possible, thinking, "who the hell are these people?” Well, Bombay Calling is a peppy documentary that answers that very question: these are young Indians, fresh out of school, who’ve flocked to Mumbai to take advantage of the call centre outsourcing boom. The second collaboration by Concordia communications grads Addelman and Mallal (Discordia) takes a friendly peak at a posse of university graduates whose engineering degrees garner them substantially better wages flogging telecom services to the west. They are poster children for India’s changing times; they sell hard, take American accent lessons, talk about love and marriages, and go for beers after work but still send money home to the village as dutiful sons and daughters. Although the subjects are engaging, the film doesn’t examine this radical change to Indian cultural mores in much depth and one is left with all sorts of questions about the economic and socio-political upshot. One thing becomes unsurprisingly clear, though, as the film documents the telemarketers’ increasing desperation and fatigue trying to reach their targets: working in a call centre sucks. Special features include a filmmakers’ commentary and the short Heavy Metal India, an endearing mini-doc about Mumbai’s diehard metal fans. (Mongrel Media)