The White Tiger review by Bobby Blakey
I love films focusing on people fighting their way out of poverty and into wealth especially when there is crime or some sort of redemption involved. The latest, The White Tiger starring Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao, and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel looks to be just that kind of film. Could this offer up the inspirational or gritty look into finding that power or will it fail to step beyond the struggles of its people?
The White Tiger follows Balram Halwai who narrates his epic and darkly humorous rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India. Cunning and ambitious, our young hero jockeys his way into becoming a driver for Ashok and Pinky, who have just returned from America. Society has trained Balram to be one thing — a servant — so he makes himself indispensable to his rich masters. But after a night of betrayal, he realizes the corrupt lengths they will go to trap him and save themselves. On the verge of losing everything, Balram rebels against a rigged and unequal system to rise up and become a new kind of master.
When I saw this trailer I was instantly interested and could not wait to see how it all played out. I was hoping for twists and turns and what looked to be violent rise of this poor villager to powerful businessman. While these elements do in fact factor in it wasn’t the story I initially expected, but still delivers something great. I will say that I was a bit disappointed in the way it structured the story as it felt like it took away the impact to where it all goes had it been linear for a more creative approach. This doesn’t hurt the overall film, but I felt it would have been more powerful had we got to see the unexpected rise play out in chronological order.
That being said I still loved the film. The story is pretty simple on the surface but has a lot more depth than you might think. It serves as not only a story for this character, but also a look inside the social classes and workings in India both good and bad. This alone makes it an important film in my opinion and just happens to offer up a great film to go with it. The cast are great with Adarsh Gouray carrying the biggest load and knocking it out of the park. He has multilayers with this character to go through and brings that something
special to each them. The rest of the cast are all great with the always great Priyanka Chopra-Jonas as good as ever.
I not only loved the film for the story it was telling but also bringing the spotlight on the Indian culture to the forefront. I’m aware they have Bollywood, but its films like this on this platform that give more audiences that might not be willing to give it try. It’s a great film and one that I hope people give it the attention it deserves.
Check out The White Tiger streaming now exclusively on Netflix.