The White Tiger first reviews are out: Critics call it a roaring success, ‘more realistic’ Slumdog Millionaire that’ll make Adarsh Gaurav a star

Kiona Rosh
·2-min read

The first reviews foe Ramin Bahrani’s The White Tiger are now out. The movie is  Scheduled for a selective theatrical release on January 8 and then an online release on Netflix, the film is considered among the front-runners for the upcoming awards season.
Starring newcomer Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the film is based on Aravind Adiga’s prize-winning novel by the same name. Several critics of foreign publications have been impressed by Ramin’s modern retelling of Aravind’s story of India’s class struggles and the psychology of servitude.
In a meaningful review, Variety’s Owen Gilberman wrote that the film presents a more realistic counter to Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. “Bahrani is no feel-good fantasist. The White Tiger taps engagingly into the rags-to-riches, Horatio-Alger-on-the-Ganges mythology that made Slumdog Millionaire a global sensation, but the movie also recognizes the earlier film as a fairy tale, positioning itself in key ways as the anti-Slumdog,” he wrote.
One of the Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney echoed the thought, also comparing the film’s exploration of the class division with Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. He wrote, “The sting of underclass payback doesn’t rival that of, say, Parasite, but the movie taps into the same simmering rage of the have-nots, shafted out of an unyielding system in a perilously unbalanced world. It could almost be considered the anti-Slumdog Millionaire.”
Adarsh Gaurav is being hailed as the star of Ramin Bahrani’s film,due to his magnificent performance in early reviews.
Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt introduced him as a “largely unknown actor whose soulful combination of sheer will and vulnerability should, in a just world, win him the kind of accolades that helped make Slumdog’s Dev Patel a star.”
Meanwhile, the Variety review called his performance a ‘small marvel’. “He’s charismatic in a nearly silent way, and he lets us see how the reflex to obey — not to up his salary but to ask for less of one, to bow and scrape before employers he views as masters — has been programmed into him,” it said.
Rajkummar, who plays the Balram’s master Ashok, was called a ‘charismatic Bollywood star’ while Priyanka was credited for bringing emotional depth to a smaller role.
The White Tiger also stars Mahesh Manjrekar and is co-produced by Priyanka and Ava DuVernay. It will be out on Netflix on January 22.