“Nothing should ever hold a man back from his future”
One of my favorite movies–one of the best movies ever–is the 2008 Indian-American romantic comedy The Other End of the Line, starring Jesse Metcalfe and Shriya Saran. It’s about two strangers, located half a world apart, who meet by chance and eventually fall in love through the most random of circumstances possible.
The story is relatively simple. Priya is an employee at an Indian credit card call-center who travels to San Francisco to be with Granger, a guy she falls for over the phone. For Priya, it’s complete risk-or-reward, as she is spending her entire savings to make what for her must surely be a once in a lifetime journey to America.
Only Granger, having believed the credit card girl he was talking to was blonder and more “Californian”, walks right past Priya when he goes to meet her for a date in San Francisco, much to her dismay. Granger, thinking he was stood up, later literally bumps into Priya at her hotel, just as she is getting ready to leave for home, knocking her down, and apologetically offering to take her to dinner. Priya, recognizing Granger, accepts the date, and they immediately hit it off. The two spend several days touring San Francisco, getting to know each other and falling in love. Things are going perfectly until Priya’s parents show up in California, having followed her there to bring her back home to her Indian fiancé, an arrangement by her parents to a man whom she has met only briefly and does not love. When Priya’s family arrives, Granger learns that the credit card girl, Jennifer, and Priya are in fact the same person, and that Priya is engaged to a man back home in India. Upset that she deceived him, Granger decides to say goodbye to Priya.
Priya is extremely upset that Granger could just forget about her so easily, and let her leave and walk out of his life forever, but having no other alternative, she returns home with her family. Back in India, when forced by her parents to apologize face to face to her fiancé and his parents for disgracing them, Priya can’t bring herself to accept a loveless and passionless life with a man she doesn’t know and doesn’t love. As she tells her fiancé, future in-laws and parents that she fell in love with Granger while in San Francisco, and that she must now develop as a person, her prospective father in-law insults her by calling her a “tramp.” Priya’s father then stands up for her, and declares that whenever she enters a room, people smile, and that he is proud of her, and loves her.
Back in America, while giving the Best Man toast at his best friend’s wedding, Granger recounts a story when his friend had the courage to cross the river from the boys’ camp to the girls’ camp to go meet the girl he liked–the girl he was now about to marry.
“Nothing should ever hold a man back from his future….”, Granger says. Shocked speechless before finishing the toast, he suddenly realizes that he is talking about himself and Priya. He rushes to the airport, calling the bank in Mumbai with the help of Indian cab driver.
By the time Granger reaches Citi Bank in Mumbai, he has traveled by plane, taxi, tuk tuk, and other modes of travel, and in his own words, worn the same suit for more than sixteen hours. Eventually, just as Priya, now promoted to call center manager, is counseling one of her employees, Granger strides into the call center and declares his love for her, as one of Priya’s coworkers urges, “Kiss him! Kiss him!”
Later, at breakfast, Granger makes amends with Priya’s father, who warmly welcomes him into their family.
Movies like this make me believe in happy endings. Make me believe in dreams. If only things like this were possible.