When I saw I was one of just four women entering the theatre screening Call Center, I panicked a bit. Both for my safety and for the film's. "How bad can things get?" I wondered.
I was reassured about my personal safety by the fact that barely a fifth of the seats were occupied (this, on the fourth day of the film's release). Which led me to wonder again, "How bad can things get?"
Call Center actually starts off allright. Krishna (Vamsi Krishna), a responsible young man from a village, lands a plum job at a Call Center in Hyderabad. So does his childhood friend Swathi, and they both set off for Hyderabad.
In this Call Center, they find themselves in the midst of a culture shock when they are exposed to the "Western" culture, by which we mean one where guys and girls generally smoke, drink, and make out with one another. Swathi is outraged and hurt as Krishna buys into the new way of life, even neglecting his parents' financial needs back in the village. The film then takes you through how Krishna realizes his mistake and becomes a manchi baaludu once more.
Frankly, Call Center does not even merit a discussion on its so-called moral message for the 'youth' that it is supposed to be targeting. Even if you suspend reason for a minute and assume that its moral judgement of cigarettes, booze and kisses is absolutely the need of the hour, the movie is just plain tacky. It tries to grab attention (we wonder whose) by being vulgar, with a few lewd jokes, some censored (but obviously obvious) dialogues, and some really cold kisses. Sadly, no one's likely to fall for it. The attempt falls flat on its face and looks ridiculous.
Then again, there are some places in which the film actually takes itself seriously. And needless to say, goes wrong, with comical results. Sample this: "Agaroththulu veliginche ammayilanthaa manchi vaallu kaadu. Cigarettlu veliginche ammayilantha chedda vaalluu kaadu."
Speaking of the cast, except for Vamsi Krishna who will probably end up full-time in this genre of films (whatever you choose to call it), no one has bothered to act. It's hard to distinguish one girl from another, given they all were brought in from some obscure modelling agency in Mumbai, save the leading lady who looks like she was brought in from some obscure modelling agency in south-east Asia.
The guys overact and generally throw around dialogues that involve "enjoying" a girl. All the characters are mostly the willing-to-make-out-on-an-office-desk kind of horny or corny or whatever you want to call them, but a few are also of the eeks-how-can-a-guy-and-girl-even-kiss variety.
The music is passable, the screenplay and visuals not even so. Watch Call Center if you enjoy those it's-so-bad-it's-good kind of movies - movies where you entertain yourself and smile indulgently at the stupidity of the proceedings, and that make you feel like an intellectually, aesthetically superior being when compared to whoever made them.