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Video clip synopsis – Customer queries are often secretly diverted to Delhi call centres, where Indians are taught to speak and think like their American, British and Australian callers.
Year of production - 2002
Duration - 1min 27sec
Tags - Asia, Australian culture, colonialism, communication, Diverted to Delhi, exploitation, globalisation, identity, India, job satisfaction, language, Screen Asia, values, see all tags


Call centre ethics

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About the Video Clip


The ethical issue of the call-centre training requirement for multi-lingual students to change their English language accent is explored. A Melbourne based company’s involvement in the industry in India is described as being ‘Delhigated’, and their training methods are examined.

This digital resource is from the project Screen Asia, a joint production of the Asia Education Foundation, Australian Children’s Television Foundation and Screen Australia Digital Learning. Click here for more digital resources for Asia.

Call centre ethics is an excerpt from the documentary Diverted to Delhi produced in 2002. Diverted to Delhi is a Greg Stitt Production, developed in association with the Australian Film Commission and financed with the assistance of the Australian Film Finance Corporation. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus


In the middle years of schooling, students can synthesise, analyse, reflect on and apply their learning to personal experiences of Asia in an increasingly independent way. They engage in cultural exchange, reflecting their enhanced understanding of their own culture, and their richer and broader framework of knowledge and understanding of Asian cultures. The aim is that students will increasingly empathise with people from different cultural backgrounds, and develop intercultural values and skills to participate in, learn from, contribute to and engage confidently in diverse cultural environments at home and abroad.

Asia Scope and Sequence: English, SOSE, The Arts

Australian Curriculum: English, History, Arts

All state and territory syllabuses for English, SOSE and Arts

Background Information


This film clip is from Greg Stitt’s 2002 documentary Diverted to Delhi which explores the call centre industry. The documentary was filmed in call centre training colleges in Delhi, India. There are also interviews in Melbourne, Australia.

In the documentary, we see intensive training which changes the accents of trainees and immerses them into the perceived culture of the client’s country. Students will be able to step into the shoes of a trainee, empathise with them, and gain an increased understanding of the phenomenon of outsourcing communications. Diverted to Delhi also provides colourful images of ‘incredible India’.

This clip demonstrates aspects of 21st century global technologies and provides students with an opportunity to understand the impact of these technologies on society (National Goals of Schooling). Viewing this clip will assist students to understand Asia, to develop informed attitudes and values, to know about contemporary Asia, and to connect Australia and India (refer to National Statement for Engaging Students with the Studies of Asia).

Teachers familiar with the film Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, will recall that the hero, Jamal, works in a call centre in Mumbai as a chai-wallah (tea person).

Classroom Activities


Background preparation

For background preparation, students should create a ‘Fact File’ rubric of three columns. (Refer to page 50 in In our Own Backyard: Connecting to Global Issues in Our Region edited by Bronwyn Collie, published by Curriculum Corporation, 2006.)
Label your three columns ‘Feature of Comparison’, ‘India’ and ‘Australia’. To complete the rubric, research information for the following ‘features of comparison’ for both countries: Geographic area, Population, Government, Capital population, Dominant language, Other main languages, Main ethnic groups, Religions, Average income per day/year, Average life expectancy, National literacy rate, Major exports including any to India/Australia, Major imports including any from India/Australia, Cultural exchanges with India/Australia.

Activity 1: Individually or in a group, students are asked to research and write their responses to the following:

  1. Some call centre workers say that they have experienced racism and parochialism in exchanges with global customers. How does your household speak to call centre operators? Do you empathise with their complaints? Why?
  2. What stress factors can you identify for call centre workers? Would you be able to adapt to a call centre job?
  3. Is this call centre job and its requirement to pretend to be another nationality similar to taking on a cyberspace identity, or an avatar identity? What are the similarities and differences?
  4. Create a PMI (plus/minus/interesting) diagram titled ‘My Call Centre Job’. Step into the shoes of an Indian graduate call centre worker and complete the PMI diagram. Draw from the other two video clips about this industry, as well as this one.
  5. Refer to the Kahootz 3 Xpression titled, Pen Pal Exchange.. Write a story about a memorable experience you have had and share this with your imaginary pen pal in India. Develop this story into a Kahootz Xpression of your own.

Activity 2: Individually or in a group, students are asked to research and write their responses to the following:

  1. How much business does the documentary claim that Coles-Myer GE Capital Finance does with call centres in India? Does your family have a Myer card? Which stores in Australia are covered by Myer card?
  2. The documentary presents a newspaper article titled Delhigated to India and subtitled Passage to India. What word play, puns and literary allusions are presented by the newspaper journalist? A dictionary and Wikipedia will help you.
  3. In the interview with Martin Foley, (Australian Services Union) in Australia, he says that the experience of the Indian trainers who come to Melbourne includes “visiting the MCG, having barbecues on the Yarra River and being given copies of the film, The Castle, because this is how the average Australian relates”. What tone does he use in the interview? Does he approve or disapprove? What might he be concerned about?

Further Resources


Diverted to Delhi Study Guide, Film Australia.

Adiga, A, 2008, The White Tiger, P127–128 Atlantic Books, London.

Collie, B, 2006, In our Own Backyard. Connecting to global issues in our region, Curriculum Corporation, Melbourne.

Collie, B, 2006, In our Own Backyard. Shifting identities, Curriculum Corporation, Melbourne. (Ella and Josh’s dialogue about stereotypes on Page 24)

Hamston, J & Murdoch, K, 2004, Australia Kaleidoscope, Curriculum Corporation.

Kwok, J and McKnight L, 2002, Film Asia, Curriculum Corporation, Melbourne.

Ledger, S & Ledger R, 2005, Snapshots of India, Curriculum Corporation.

Swarap, V, 2005, 50,000 – How to Speak Australian in Slumdog Millionaire, Black Swan.

Tharoor, S, 2007, The Elephant, The Tiger and the Cellphone – Reflections on India, an emerging 21st century power, Arcade Publishing, New York.

Theroux, P, 2007, The Elephant God novella in The Elephanta Suite, Houghton Mifflin, New York.

Curriculum Corporation, 2004,Think English, Speak English in Popular Publishing, Voices and Visions from India: Texts for the Senior English Classroom CD Rom.

Curriculum Corporation, 2004,Crazy English in Visual and Performing Arts, Voices and Visions from China: Texts for the Senior English Classroom CD Rom.

Curriculum Corporation, 2004, Voices and Visions from India: Texts for the Senior English Classroom CD Rom.

Slumdog Millionaire, 2009, (Film) Directed by Danny Boyle, Fox Searchlight & Warner Brothers.