The Other End of the Line

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      Starring Jesse Metcalfe and Shriya Saran. Rated G. Now playing at the Granville 7.

      While ostensibly celebrating global connectivity, this film does so from the perspective of an American audience for whom India is an idea rather than a place.

      The film begins with New York City–based young ad man Granger Woodruff (Jesse Metcalfe from Desperate Housewives) whose credit card has been stolen. The supportive voice that helps him sort out the mess belongs to Priya Sethi (Shriya Saran), a call-centre employee in Mumbai who pretends to be an American woman named Jennifer David.

      Soon Granger and “Jennifer” begin conversing about things beyond his personal credit crisis and they arrange to meet in San Francisco. Priya travels to the U.S., meets with Granger, and an unlikely, yet entirely predictable, romance ensues. Her hapless father (Anupam Kher) and the rest of her family soon follow her and further complicate matters.

      Priya is what we expect Indian women to be in Hollywood films. She’s sweet, kind, sexually demure, loves her family, wears colourful clothes, and is scheduled to have an arranged marriage. She’s also the cinematic foil to Granger’s American girlfriend, who is sexually ambitious, demanding, and kind of mean. Granger is the all-American young man who has more credit than sense, loves his mother, believes in true love, and yet, strangely, produces marketing campaigns that verge on soft porn. He’s contrasted with the tedious and utterly unimaginative man that Priya is engaged to in India.

      The film has its enjoyable moments and some comical bits that were, no doubt, unintended. The funniest moment is when Priya talks about how transforming it is to be in San Francisco and to live out her lifelong dream of swimming in the ocean. Right. Last I checked, Mumbai was a coastal city, on the Indian Ocean. But why let logic interfere when two stereotypes are falling in love?