“The White Tiger” directed by Ramin Bahrani starring the perfect star ensemble of Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gourav, Mahesh Majrekar deliver a stunning performance of Arvind Adiga’s 2008 Booker Prize-Winning Novel with the same title.
The film invites the audience to clearly understand the social class which exists and how a driver Balram, played by Adarsh Gourav, claims the social ladder by working for the wealthy America-returned Ashoka, Rajkummar Rao.
The film is set in 2000s India, navigating through the decade of belittling and pride. The plot of the film starts with the humble story of Balram Halwai, his father’s death due to tuberculosis, getting pulled out of school to run the family tea store, his entire life is dictated to be in the lower class pleasing the upper-classmen. The idea is ingrained in him due to the thousand-year-old caste tradition in India. Balram secures a job as a driver/chauffeur with Ashoka (Rajkummar Rao) who is the village head’s son who is back from America. Balram is overwhelmed by securing this job and he takes the good, the bad, and the ugly with it.
In a scene where Rao and Jonas, try and test Balram’s knowledge the mocking apparently making the lines of class and caste with their struggle clear than ever. Priyanka Jonas’s performance as Pinky, Ashoka’s wife, is the deviance from the normal in this scenario. She is compassionate and understanding of Balram. However, her character breaks at certain points through the narrative and that makes it even stronger.
The film seems like an Indian version of the Oscar-Winning Film “Parasite”, where the class system in the Park family is embodied through Ashok. Certain scenes where the upper caste pass remarks which may seem normal for them, but, their counter-effects are resonated by Balram.
Balram’s character as the narrator amplifies the resonance required for the film. The strong performances stand at the heart of this film.
The alternative perspective to cinematography (Paolo Carnera) and direction and writing (Ramin Bahrani) by non-Indians provides a new view to the traditional outlook Indian audiences have got accustomed to. The set design envisioned with the accuracy of caste distinction makes the film even more relatable. The film does not seem like a fantasy in any way.
“The White Tiger” is a new look to the traditional Indian films, it is not original but, a new perspective is imparted in this film. I recommend this film to everyone who wishes to see strong performances to an old concept.
Earlier, how two lonely neighbors trying to find meaning and common ground in their lives to a story of an auto-driver helping a senior citizen live her life in Amazon Prime’s Unpaused series.