Every once in a while, a film comes around and reminds you of the social reality we live in. The rich get richer on the backs of the poor, while the poor fade into oblivion. The White Tiger is a satirical tale that explores the dark and interconnected web of corruption and an ever-growing economic divide. Based on the award-winning book with the same name by Aravind Adiga, this film follows a young man named Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) from the village of Laxmangarh. He had a promising start when an education officer tells him he can get a scholarship to go and study in Delhi. That quickly turns into just a memory when he’s forced to leave school and work in a tea shop with his brother because his father didn’t have the money to pay the ruthless feudal lord of the village who regularly extorted money from the people. Now a grown-up Balram still working in the tea shop sees an opportunity of a lifetime when the village landlord’s son Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and his wife Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) come back from America and need a driver. Balram wiggles his way into their lives and becomes not just their driver but their servant too. Soon Balram sees up close how the rich live and gets to taste that life from the outside. The rest of the story follows how Balram transforms himself into The White Tiger, a rare breed, that is believed to be born once in every generation.
Only darkness no light?
Early in the film, Balram makes it known that there are only two kinds of people – the ones who live in darkness with small bellies and the ones who live in the light with big fat bellies. The rich get as rich as the amount of corruption that prevails. They go hand-in-hand. This movie does a great job to portray that. On the other hand, the poor have only one ambition in life to make sure they keep their job by staying loyal and make money to eat and marry off their children. We see Balram go from being a loyal servant and believing that he must serve his master with absolute devotion to him realizing how unfair life had been to him and his kind. He sets his sights on a red bag that his master had been carrying around to pay off one politician after the other.
Adarsh Gourav is nothing less than brilliant
While the big names of the film are Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Rajkummar Rao. The real star of this movie is Adarsh Gourav who brings Balram to life and plays this character to perfection. Right from Balram being a nobody who was constantly insulted by his Masters to taking matters into his own hands, newcomer Adarsh Gourav plays the part incredibly.
The book or the film?
The Man-Booker prize-winning book by Aravind Adiga is exceptional, to say the least. The film is the perfect summary of the book, and while it is a well-made movie it’s doesn’t come close to being as good as the book. However, it must be mentioned that director Ramin Bahrani treated the subject of the film very well.
WATCH OR NOT:
Your weekend plans should definitely include watching The White Tiger on Netflix. It’s a film that will keep you engaged throughout especially if you haven’t read the book.