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Still from the film (Courtesy: Jobin Andrews)
What do places like Electronic City (Bangalore), Cyberabad (Hyderabad) and TIDEL Park (Chennai) have in common? Well, they are parts of large southern Indian metropolises where many information technology (IT) organizations have their offices. And they are sanitized expanses with a few of them also having space for people to reside. Such populations typically comprise those who can afford to or need to live there – i.e., largely IT professionals with or without their families. Further, these areas and their environs give the impression of exclusivity, insulation and wealth except for those pockets where construction workers and others who labour in the informal economy (if any), stay.
The preference for remaining aloof is something that is obvious in many of the people who work in the IT industry especially with those who hail from a different town or city than where they have a job. While some of this is understandable, these persons also exhibit a lack of connectedness with the surroundings and essential service providers such as security guards, domestic workers or janitors. People in their personal lives including spouses, children and parents also feel left out at times.
All this and more is brought out in a candid manner in "Look for the small print", a short film created by Jobin Andrews, a technologist who has been employed in the city’s IT industry for over 5 years. "Many IT companies compel us to not just familiarize ourselves with the culture of the west but also imbibe it. This could result in a conflict with our actual identity," Andrews shared after a recent screening held in Bengaluru. (Having spent 14 years in such organizations, yours truly agrees completely with the director).
Local setting, universal message
The backdrop of the documentary, is Bangalore, essentially. But the story which revolves round Akash, a workaholic, is applicable to the realities of IT professionals anywhere in the country. Akash’s wife who also works in an IT firm is expecting the couple’s second child. It is ironical that they are likely to have another kid when Akash has to appease his young daughter with a pizza for not having spent time with her. "Greed and a unilateral frame of mind make people lose their sense of purpose", remarked a viewer of the documentary, thoughtfully.
With background music by renowned documentary film maker K P Sasi, (also a Bangalorean) this film has been shown at SIGNS (Kerala Film Federation) festival at Kerala and the International Short Film Festival of India (ISFFI) 2012 at Chennai in March 2012. Try to catch the production at its next show!