Beautiful and radiant, Priya Sethi (SHRIYA SARAN) indulges her infatuation with American culture by working at the Citi One Bank Card call center in Bangalore, India. Speaking in perfectly unaccented English, she tells her customers her name is Jennifer David and a native of San Francisco. Her conservative father Rajeev is unhappy that she is so eager to forsake her own culture for another, but will be pleased when she goes through with her arranged marriage to the dull Vikram.
Priya, posing as Jennifer David, happens to call the handsome and charming Granger Woodruff (JESSE METCALFE) to help him with the fraudulent charges on his credit card. Priya and Granger have an instant connection over the phone. Unable to suppress the intrigue their easy chemistry offers, Priya agrees to meet Granger in San Francisco. She gets on a plane and crosses not only an ocean, but entire cultures as well.
When Priya goes to meet Granger, he doesn't recognize her and they only meet when they inadvertently bump into each other. They immediately hit it off and he invites her out to dinner. Priya and Granger's relationship blossoms as they share a wonderfully romantic date, reminiscent in many moments of Pretty Woman. They tour the City by the Bay by cable car, sample some especially spicy curry (much to his chagrin), and have a tender first kiss under the Golden Gate. Improbably, unthinkably, they are falling in love.
But their young love is not without obstacles, as Priya's family has arrived to bring their wayward daughter home a la Coming to America and elude the shame of her escapades. Granger struggles with dumping his sickeningly ideal and superficial girlfriend for this intoxicatingly innocent tourist from India and still doesn't know she is also Jennifer David. And worst of all, they both wonder if they just might be too different for their love to actually be possible.
Priya and Granger are found out by her parents and he learns that Priya is "Jennifer David" (the Citi One Bank Card girl) and that she is engaged to Vikram. He is angry that she deceived him and painfully decides to just cut their ties. Her family is happy to have ended such a foolish and reckless relationship, except for her 80 year-old Aunt who advises her that life is too short to live to make others happy.
Priya goes to Granger's hotel to fight for their love, but discovers him in bed with his girlfriend. She is extremely upset that he could forget about her so easily and, to make matters worse, he lets her leave and walk out of his life forever. It seems, in fact, that their love did indeed face too many obstacles to flourish.
Back in India, Priya can't bring herself to accept a lackluster life with Vikram. Granger, too, feels something is missing. He has an epiphany while giving a touching speech at his friend's wedding and rushes directly to the airport. In a scene reminiscent of An Officer and a Gentleman, he strides into the call center and triumphantly sweeps her off her feet. He even manages to win the grudging approval of her family by displaying his commitment to her and, of course, to spicy curry
BEHIND THE SCENES
With principal photography taking place in Mumbai, India and additional photography in New York and San Francisco, The Other End of the Line was truly an international production.
After many years of script development with film studio MGM, producer Ashok Amritraj finally had a script that told a story that was near and dear to his heart. When stars Jesse Metcalfe and Shriya Saran and director James Dodson signed on in the late summer early fall, 2007 Amritraj knew he was ready to begin production.
The filming company moved to Mumbai, India in September 2007 and set up local production offices. Location scouting began just as the monsoon season was tapering down. The colorful authentic Indian locations that the script required were abundant, but director Dodson also needed to find numerous locations to double New York and San Francisco interiors. It wasn't that there was a lack of restaurant and hotel interiors that could easily double for American cities, rather Mumbai's exploding society was keeping these locations so popular that they couldn't afford to close down to accommodate shooting.
Eventually Dodson along with cinematographer Harlan Bosmajian, production designer Minal Rath and set decorator Kalpa Dave found stunning locations that matched American locales and line producer Manu Gargi was somehow able to convince them to close down for 12 hours to allow filming.
"Well, most of the time," says director Dodson, "we were filming in one restaurant location and I heard some extras talking during the shot and I asked our AD to get them quiet and she explained, 'I can't ask them - they're customers!' I went around the corner to see 80 customers having lunch in another part of the active restaurant."
Because of the rich tapestry that Tracey Jackson wove into her screenplay the supporting cast was filled with surprising talents. Anupam Kher ("Bend it Like Beckham") joined the cast to play Saran's father and Larry Miller ("Boston Legal", "Best in Show", Pretty Woman") flew over from Los Angeles to play Kit Hawksin, the powerful hotel Magnate that Metcalfe's character, Granger Woodruf is trying to land as a client.
To complete the over 170 visual effects shots on the film, the entire 35mm negative was scanned on a 2k scanner so that effects work could be accomplished back in Los Angeles. "We were shooting foregrounds in San Francisco and backgrounds in India," explains cinematographer Bosmajian ("Starting out in the Evening", "Ira + Abby"), "and we were really counting on the VFX houses to stitch the shots together to really sell these India locations as actually San Francisco and New York."
The shooting schedule had to be reconfigured to accommodate supporting actress Tara Sharma's lavish four day wedding that was being held right in the midst of production, but the filmmakers couldn't imagine not having Tara (Khosla Ka Ghosla!) in the film and they were happy to make the adjustments.
Rounding out the casting, Sara Foster ("The Big Bounce") signed on to play Emory Banks, Granger's beautiful but chilly erstwhile girlfriend.
Says Dodson about the experience of filming in Mumbai, "I've filmed in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic - but nothing prepared me for the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. Imagine 22 million people all alive and celebrating life at their loudest. Now imagine trying to get them all to stay quiet for 2 minutes so we can shoot a quiet intimate scene!"
But both producer Amritraj and director Dodson agree on this: "We couldn't have done this film anywhere else," says Dodson. "And it's ten times the movie because we shot it there," concludes Amritraj. "I was so touched at how India opened up her heart to us - and it all shows on the screen."
THE ART OF WORLD CINEMA