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Slumdog Millionaire And Call Centers In India

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Millionaire

The movie “Slumdog Millionaire” has really taken the world by storm. From winning 10 Oscar nominations for the Best Picture and the Best Director (the highest for any movie based and filmed in India) to getting other international prizes like the Golden Globe award; to becoming the most talked about movie on the internet; it has many firsts to its credit.

Slumdog Millionaire has sparked a row from many who believe that the film is offensive and tries to sell Indian poverty to gain international recognition. It only dwells on the dark underbelly of the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai and is far from the complete truth. Let us not get into this debate, because I believe it should be seen as just another good “movie” and not a documentary on someone or something!

The rags-to-riches love story in this movie adds a tender touch to the whole drama and is surely a work of good filmmaking for which British filmmaker Danny Boyle certainly deserves the ‘Thumbs up’.

Let’s wait and watch if it manages to get some Oscars although personally I feel that a few of the things in the movie were “kinda weird” and seemed a bit cliched and jagged out!

Take for instance the depiction of a dingy call center with young Indians slogging it out in American accents with drunken callers calling to abuse these call center agents! Well! A few incidents here and there cannot label an entire industry. It is just like calling all Pakistanis “terrorists” or all Americans “racists”. Unfair; isn’t it?

Those who have seen call centers in India or have worked in one would vouch for the fact that nothing could be further from reality. Yes people do get shouted at, but that does happen in all professions. And most call centers have very chic, modern, plush facilities where the agents come to work. The whole process is very professional and the atmosphere is anything but dark and depressing; because most call center employees are young graduates and their average age group ranges from 20 to 25 years across the entire industry. With so many young people around where is the scope for depression?

In fact the truth is that there have been many rags-to-riches “Slumdog Millionaire” kind of real stories in the call center industry itself. Many start ups who began in just one room with a computer and an internet connection have now become millionaires with multiple call centers spread all over the country. Even the software giant Infosys began in a small two-room tenement in Pune (India) by a group of 6 friends who were all first generation entrepreneurs and today it is a respected name in the outsourcing business.

The call center services industry is full of such surprises where underdogs have gone on to bag plum clients and become success stories overnight. So anything is possible in the magical world of outsourcing. Dreams are big and so are the realizations!

In a country which has a billion people India has poverty, squalor and illiteracy but at the same time India has another side to her which is young, enterprising, and full of highly skilled, educated, professionals with the fire in their bellies to achieve success. They are determined to do what it takes to reach the top-of-the tops, just like Jamal (the main protagonist of Slumdog Millionaire) who faces all odds with courage and dexterity to emerge a winner in the end.