The White Tiger Movie Review
Surrounded by Oscar buzz, The White Tiger starring Priyanka Chopra, Rajkummar Rao and Adarsh Gourav delivers a fantastic dark tale of the dynamics between master and servant rooted in India's caste system.
The main focus of Netflix’s latest offering, The White Tiger, is the archaic caste and economic divide that has followed India into the 21st century. Based on Arvind Adiga’s 2008 Man Booker Prize award winning novel of the same name, the film shakes the viewer into awareness of the degradation the poor in India are doomed to. The world’s biggest democracy has left a third of our population without freedom or opportunity to come out of the vicious circle of poverty, which they accept without question or strife due to centuries of conditioning. It is a Hollywood film made for a global audience and full of stereotypes - characters and scenes that match the idea of India among the western viewers. And yet, Indians across the socio-economic classes are able to relate to the premise. The end leaves you with a bittersweet taste, as the protagonist breaks out of the shackles, but does so heinously.
Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) is an ambitious young man from rural India who longs to serve US returned Ashok (Rajkumar Rao), the youngest son of the village landlord and Ashok’s wife Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) as their driver. During what he thinks is his dream come true, he experiences the unfairness dished out to his lot and undergoes a catalytic transformation. He breaks away from the mental bondage (compared to a Roosters’ coop in the movie). He uses wit and the fire in his belly to get out of the situation and becomes a successful entrepreneur. He is ‘the white tiger’- extraordinary, unique...born once in a generation!
Adarsh Gourav’s Balram is a delight to watch. His performance elevates the movie to one of the top OTT films of recent times. He exudes the innocence of a village lad, as well as the eccentricity of a subdued savage. He makes Balram’s freakishness, inferiority complex and desires come alive. I sat at the edge of my seat, trying to guess what Balram would do next in his imbalanced state, such was the raw appeal of his performance. Rajkumar Rao and Priyanka Chopra Jonas play a modern Indian couple and have also given great performances, especially Priyanka. She plays the unorthodox, rebellious US born Indian wife to the T.
The film is directed by Iranian-American Ramin Bahrani. He spent several months in the locations covered in the film to understand the context and soak in the culture and the lives of the people the characters represent. His work in the film has lived up to his reputation - he has given us a masterpiece.
Rating - 4/5