Notwithstanding their anti-outsourcing sentiments, a documentary on Indian BPOs Nalini by day, Nancy by Night is making waves across the US and was a sold-out show at the Black Maria, an Academy Award qualifying film festival.
"It is a documentary on outsourcing of American jobs to India. Told from the perspective of an Indian living in the US, the film journeys into India's call centres, where telemarketers acquire American names and accents to service the telephone-support industry of the US. The film explores the complexities of globalisation, capitalism, and identity," says its director and writer Sonali Gulati.
The film was also screened in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia last month.
"I have been really fortunate in having the film do so well in the film festival circuit. It has screened at approximately 30 film festivals till date including a sold-out show at the prestigious Margaret Meade Film Festival in New York and the Black Maria Film Festival which is an Academy Award qualifying film festival," says its Indian-American director and writer Sonali Gulati.
The 26-minute film has also won five awards and is currently being distributed by "Women Make Movies" to mainly educational institutions, Gulati, an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Photography & Film, told.
She says the idea for the film came when a telecaller from Delhi called and he pronounced my name perfectly.
I was fascinated by the fact that here I was an Indian living in the US with an Indian name and accent and here was this telemarketer also an Indian living in India with an American name an accent. Ironically, we were both living our lives as per eastern standard time.
"My interest lies in the area of identity politics and this seemed like a intriguing subject to explore. As an Indian living in the US, my "Indian-ness" is often questioned by my friends back home in Delhi... The questions of identity nagged me to make Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night," says Gulati.
Gulati has made several short films that have screened at over one hundred film festivals worldwide including Canada, United States, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, UK, Germany, Australia, and Asia. They include Out & About: the dilemma parents face when they find out that their child is gay; Sum Total: A lesbian's story; Name I call Myself: a filmmaker's search for self-knowledge and identity through the tracing of her name.
"My interest in filmmaking really began with Visual Anthropology. When I watched ethnographic flms I noticed that most films about people living in developing countries were made by white people. It made me ask myself "Who has the power to represent whom?" and "Which stories get heard and which stories get silenced?"
On her future plans, Gulati says, "I am making a film on parents of gay and lesbian children living in India. I hope the government will recognise that there is indeed an extremely large gay and lesbian population in India that remains silenced, ignored and pushed to the margins as 'abnormal'."