Representations of India in Horrible Bosses

Over the weekend I saw the movie Horrible Bosses (This post doesn’t give much away if you are still planning on seeing it). In one scene the three main characters turn on the car’s navigation system. The system has a live person on the other end to give the person driving directions and to report any accidents that occur. This is the first time that I have ever heard of a navigation system with an actual person giving directions but that is besides the point. The navigator who answered their call spoke with a heavy Indian accent when he told the men that his name was Gregory. The men’s response was something along the lines of “no way your name is Gregory because you have an accent”. “Gregory” told them they were quite right, but that Americans cannot pronounce his actual name, and therefore the navigation company assigned him the name of Gregory. After hearing this, the three men attempted to say “Gregory”‘s proper name, butchered the pronunciation and went back to calling the man Gregory. While this scene is meant to be funny, perhaps for the men’s stupidity, what does it say about Hollywood’s representation of India? Furthermore, what does it say about the representations of Americans?

As a coach and a future teacher I dread the days in which I have to take attendance because there are so many difficult names on most rosters! However, why did the movie choose to make “Gregory” Indian instead of another nationality that’s language contain pronunciations that are sometimes difficult for American tongues?

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One thought on “Representations of India in Horrible Bosses

  1. It’s simply a case of art imitating life.

    Four years ago Time Magazine had an article about Indian Call Centers and an anticipated labor shortage, stating the industry was “facing a dearth of skilled labor. Many are opening back offices in other developing country.” We seem to see otherwise.

    Read the Time article here:
    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1671982,00.html#ixzz1TtT4EyMf

    Also worth looking at (an article I read for GEOG450 Spring quarter):
    Nadeem, Shahzeed. “The Uses and Abuses of Time: Globalization and Time Arbitrage in India’
    Outsourcing Industries.” Global Networks 9.1 (2009) : 20-40.

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