Mumbai: English movie channel Pix will hold the world premiere of documentary John & Jane on 22 June at 8 pm.
John & Jane is a look at the souls of the outsourced. Shot on 35mm and composed with unsettling grace, this film finds an entirely original and fitting language to express the eerie dislocation of virtual work.
The lives it depicts are real, but the film’s approach gives those lives the scope of speculative fiction. Glen and Sydney have taken Western names, partly for convenience, partly for their own pleasure. They sleep during the daytime and work in the middle of their night, following American business hours. Neither of them has ever left India.
As part of their training, they learn the meanings that work, money and God hold for Americans. In classes that could be read as satire or tragedy, they study shopping flyers as though they were textbooks. Some begin to adopt American values as their own. One dreams of buying his own Spanish-style villa. When their shifts end, Glen and Sydney go back to traditional Indian homes, with simple amenities and mothers who urge them to eat.
Director Ashim Ahluwalia builds a story of transformation that becomes engrossing yet Naomi still comes as a surprise. Blonde down to her eyelashes, she speaks with a kind of cyborg-Midwest accent. "I’m totally very Americanized," she asserts. Ahluwalia’s resonant portrait shows Naomi and her co-workers to be products of America, yes, but also of India and of their own satellite fantasies.