While there have been quite a few Hollywood engaging films like Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or the Million Dollar Arms which have their story base setup in India, The White Tiger scratches the rough surface of raw and real India.
Based on the book written by Aravind Adiga which won the Booker Prize-winning 2008 bestselling debut novel, The White Tiger tells the story of Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) who sets his eye to become a faithful servant and driver to the NRI couple Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra). As the relationship between the master and servant develops, one unfortunate incident changes everything when the intoxicated Pinky mows down a slum-kid and Ashok’s family pressurized Balram to take the blame. Balram, who always wanted to break away from shackles of grief-stricken life, plans to avenge the forceful confession of killing the kid but also creates the opportunity to start his own venture in Bangalore.
Directed by Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes, Chop Shop, Man Push Cart), The White Tiger focuses on the differences in the mindset between the Upper class and Lower class families which is very much existing in our society. The movie gives a detailed account of how an under privileged boy is influenced by the lifestyle of a wealthy rich family and eventually enters into their house only to get latched on to their wealth. The White Tiger also dwells with character which you can relate to – a poverty driven family comprising of a struggling father, blood-sucking granny and jobless brother.
The film slowly and eventually picks up as Balram Halwai gets the job in Ashok and Pinky’s house. He even gains the trust of his master by accusing the old driver. The main drama unfolds when a drunkard Pinky takes the wheel from Balram on her birthday night and hit a slum kid. This is where the film kicks-off which leads to series of uninvited events, leading to more excitement and thrills you never expected.
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While The White Tiger becomes exciting, it loses the steam towards the end thanks to the not-so-believable story of Balram Halwai turning into an entrepreneur disguised as Ashok. Also, couple of scenes made no sense. For e,g the defecation scene came out of now where and did not fit into the film. The narration falters as the film progresses towards the end. Technically, The White Tiger was blended with nice cinematography by Paolo Carnera and smart editing by Tim Streeto, the background score successfully creates the tension required to keep the audience engaged.
The White Tiger belongs to Adarsh Gourav who will surprise you as the wannabe rich guy. The actor breathes and lives the character of Balram as if it was tailor made for him. The supremely talented actor will convince you to believe in his portrayal of innocent-turned-into-rebellious entrepreneur. I was not convinced with American accent used by Rajkummar Rao who was decent in not-skillfully sketched character. On the other hand, Priyanka Chopra was pretty solid as Pinky.
So overall, The White Tiger was dark, gritty and bold film which should not be skipped thanks to the electrifying performance by Adarsh Gourav.
Go for it – 3/5
The White Tiger is currently streaming on Netflix and is produced by Mukul Deora , Ramin Bahrani and Prem Akkaraju