Pramod Dev (2016)
This short documentary examines the brutally exhausting lives of three Indian women forced into formal employment by deteriorating economic conditions.
The first is a young woman who gets up at 4 am to work at a call center; the second is a married mother of two who works in a textile factory all night, does all the housework and sleeps five hours while her kids are at school; the third is a middle aged woman who gets up at 2 am to go door-to-door selling fish.
Most striking about the documentary is the absence of a narrator. Except for the women’s own commentary about their horrendous lives, it’s left to the viewer to decide whether these women are better or worse off by being forced into wage slavery.
According to the film, India has 900,000 young people working at call centers. Forty-five percent are women. The BPOS (Business Productivity Online Services), as they are called, serve 66 countries in 35 languages.
According to manager interviewed by filmmakers, BPOs hire women in preference to men. By this point, most Americans and Europeans are aware they’re talking to someone in India when they call a toll free number for technical support, to change their airline reservation or to place a classified ad in their local newspaper.* Most are more receptive to talking to a female than a male.
*Here in New Plymouth, the call is put through to India when we place a classified ad in the Midweek.