In his bestselling The World is Flat Thomas Friedman suggests that if we flash back to the fall of the Berlin Wall, that from that day forward the world became noticeably flatter. The Web created a fenceless reality with instant feedback in which Bangalore would become as close as one’s own (American) backyard: “The flattening of the world is largely (but not entirely) unstoppable and…" (Be sure to watch this fascinating video on Expontenial Growth and the rise of China and India).
The outsourcing craze hitting companies driven by Friedman's technology-flattening world has finally entrenched itself in pop culture. Two movies with the title "Outsourced" are in the works, one a comedy starring Owen Wilson and Hank Azaria, and one an independent film set in India that has already won numerous film festival awards.
Directed by John Jeffcoat, the Indian "Outsourced," follows a Seattle businessman to Mumbai when his company is outsourced and he is sent to train his replacement. It's described as "an original comedy about business practices, culture clashes, love and understanding."
Main character Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) encounters many predictable-but-still-hilarious cultural differences and blunders as he tries to carry out his task. Ayesha Dharker stars as his love interest, Asha, who admonishes Todd for his naivete and tells him that in order to be successful, he has a lot to learn about India. Of course, he learns a lot about life and himself in the process.
"I wanted to tell a story about an American thrown into a vastly different culture that forces him to rethink the way he lives," Jeffcoat told India-West, a San Francisco-based newspaper.
Jeffcoat spent a good deal of time in India making the movie and went through a scaled-down version of the same culture shock his character did. But as uncomfortable as it was sometimes, he remembers it fondly.
"But then there are the times when I'm sipping deliciously sweet street chai and watching Mumbai life around me as a cool breeze blows in from the beach. Or sitting at the Seaview Hotel overlooking Juhu beach eating french fries and drinking a Kingfisher, watching the guys spin the human powered Ferris wheels around," he said with a smile.
Viewers who love vicarious trips to other parts of the world through film will relish — and maybe, at moments, cringe —to put themselves in Todd Anderson's shoes.