Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night

A film by Sonali Gulati

India/US | 2005 | 27 minutes | Color/BW | DVD | Hindi/English | Subtitled | Order No. 06901


In this insightful documentary, filmmaker Sonali Gulati explores complex issues of globalization, capitalism and identity through a witty and personal account of her journey into India’s call centers. Gulati, herself an Indian immigrant living in the US, explores the fascinating ramifications of outsourcing telephone service jobs to India—including how native telemarketers take on Western names and accents to take calls from the US, UK and Australia.

A fresh juxtaposition of animation, archival footage, live action shots and narrative work highlight the filmmaker’s presence and reveal the performative aspects of her subjects. With fascinating observations on how call centers affect the Indian culture and economy, NALINI BY DAY, NANCY BY NIGHT raises important questions about the complicated consequences of globalization.


Recommended...Gulati is a charming, humorous, and thoughtful guide. Her camera is as steady as her storytelling…This film would be a valuable addition to all school libraries.”

Educational Media Reviews Online

“Insightful and humorous. A wonderful hybrid form that combines documentary footage with more whimsical animation and archival footage in this examination of the complex phenomenon of outsourcing jobs to India.”

Kathy Brew, Managing/Co-Director Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival

“Timely and telling.”

Black Maria Film Festival

“Unfold[s] with wit and humor on a subject of global importance that will keep you laughing all the way home and thinking thereafter. Definitely a documentary worth watching.”

Maya Kulkarni South Asian Women's NETwork

"This energetic, humorous documentary on India’s call-centre culture skillfully educates the viewer on the resolute connection between class, Anglo-American colonial history, globalisation, and the clash between national and regional cultures..An invaluable teaching tool."

Shefali Chandra University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

"A welcome addition to the cinema of globalization...explores with care and insight, the rigorous and fascinating training that hopeful call center operators in India pursue...a charming and revealing look at a cultural phenomenon we hear about but rarely see."

Tom Zaniello Northern Kentucky University, author of "The Cinema of Globalization" (2007).

“A wonderful film…draws on personal history and economic theory to reveal the complex and surprising trajectories of globalization. Filmmaker Sonali Gulati hangs up on annoying solicitation calls, until she encounters a voice that properly pronounces her name. Her curiosity aroused, she traces the call to New Delhi, India, where day and night have been inverted to accommodate the pull of American consumer culture.”

Thomas Shevory Professor of Politics, Ithaca College


  • Rosebud Film & Video Festival, Festival Award
  • Humboldt Int’l Film Festival, Ledo Matteoli Award
  • Cinemateca Film Festival, Uruguay, 1st Prize
  • UFVA Juried Screening for NextFrame, 2nd Prize
  • Black Maria Film Fest, Director's Choice Award
  • IFCT 2008 Award, Best Documentary
  • IFCT 2008 Tour Award, Best Director of a Documentary
  • Margaret Mead Film and Festival
  • Independent South Asian Film Festival, Seattle
  • Asian Pacific American Film Festival, Washington DC
  • International South Asian Film Festival, NYC
  • NY Asian American International Film Festival
  • Indianapolis International Film Festival
  • Chicago Asian American Film Festival
  • Los Angeles VC Asian Pacific Film Festival


Sonali Gulati

Sonali Gulati is an independent filmmaker, a feminist, grass-roots activist, and an educator. She is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Photography & Film. She has an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and a BA in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College. Ms. Gulati grew up in New Delhi, India and has made several short films that have screened at over three hundred film festivals worldwide.

Her films have screened at venues such as the Hirshhorn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and at film festivals such as the Margaret Mead Film Festival, the Black Maria Film Festival and the Slamdance Film Festival. Gulati's award-winning documentary, NALINI BY DAY, NANCY BY NIGHT was broadcast on television in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, The Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

Her most recent film I AM has won 12 awards and continues to exhibit extensively in the film festival circuit. Gulati has won awards, grants, and fellowships from the Third Wave Foundation, World Studio Foundation, the Robert Giard Memorial Fellowship, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, the Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), VCU School of the Arts Faculty Award of Excellence and most recently a grant from the Creative Capital Foundation. (8/14)


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