Cameron Bailey selected Ashim Ahluwalia as one of the best emerging film directors working today and chose the film John and Jane (2005) as an example that best represents his work.
John and Jane
The film follows six young Indians in vast, fluorescent-lit rooms, where thousands of ambitious young Indians talk to people in Kentucky, California, or Idaho. Bridging continents by telephone, they pitch products and soothe the frayed nerves of customers. As they troubleshoot, they dream of America. As they dream, they change. Welcome to the world of offshore call centres.
“John and Jane is an astonishing look at the souls of the outsourced. Composed and filmed with unsettling grace, the documentary finds an entirely original and fitting language to express the eerie dislocation of virtual work. The six lives it depicts are real, but the film’s approach gives those lives the scope of speculative fiction. At a stroke, Ahluwalia recasts Mumbai as a spectral city, flooded not simply with masses of people and monsoon rains but with simulation upon simulation.”
Cameron Bailey, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival