Ever since its premiere on Netflix, The White Tiger received immense love and appreciation from the audience. It has created a strong impact on everyone from all over the world. The White Tiger highlights how the unwavering caste system in India creates a division between the rich and the poor.
The poverty, deprivation, hardship, struggle of the lower caste has resulted in a “rooster coop”. The servants of our society have developed an unquestionable loyalty for the upper-class people. Only once in a lifetime, one certain individual breaks out of this cycle, The White Tiger.
Here is a spoiler-free review of The White Tiger. Don’t let anyone deprive you of watching this mind-bending adaptation of the 2008 novel, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. His debutante novel led him to win the Man Booker Prize.
The Plot of The White Tiger
Balram, a resident of Laxmamgarh, was always good in his studies. He got a scholarship and a chance to study in Delhi. Unfortunately, his father’s sudden demise due to Tuberculosis and poverty barred him from further education. He was forced to hammer chunks of coal in his family’s tea shop and hand over all his earning to dadi.
His dadi(grandmother) was like a dictator in their household. She forced his elder brother into arrange marriage and was always after money. She kept on buggering everyone in the family and dictated their moves. Balram’s family owed a huge sum to the Stork’s, an influential family and the mafia of the village.
Stork’s elder son Mongoose came to collect “hafta” and took 1/3rd of their money every time. Balram describes their situation as roosters being stuck in a coop. Everyone knows the consequence, yet nobody takes the initiative to break free. One day, when the youngest son of the Stork’s came to the village, Balram saw an opportunity to escape and climb out of this weary cage. He offered his future earnings to dadi in exchange for Rs.300 so that he can learn driving.
Though Balram secures the job of a driver, he is always treated miserably. They hit him, make him rub the oil in their calves, abuse him verbally, and what not every time something doesn’t go their way. But, Balram tolerates everything and accepts the horrendous treatment with a smile on his face. After all, what is a servant without a master? But, one day, his blindfold of loyalty gets ripped off when the Storks try to blame Balram for a crime he didn’t commit. Balram signs a paper without questioning it.
However, he realises the agony of this raucous cycle. The upper class never tries to consider anyone else worthy of respect. The lower caste suffers because of the perpetual misbehaviour and opportunist upper society that sucks up any hope for the poor beings.
The gripping narrative and touches of reality
The White Tiger shows how centuries of oppression, suppression, torture, and control have reduced a community’s freedom into a big void. They’re always monitored by someone of higher rank. Hardly anyone can break free from the status of a servant. The movie will remind you of “Parasite”.
What happens when the lower caste tries to break free from the chains of slavery? What happens when years of suppressed anger finally takes over? We see Balram’s transformation in front of our eyes. From a mere servant who couldn’t even dare to question his master, he takes charge of his fate. He refuses to be pushed around by this boisterous class.
Performance and Cinematography
With The White Tiger, Ramin Bahrani finally steps outside the USA bubble, and takes the audience on a wild ride in the ghettos of India. Paolo Carnera’s striking cinematography paints a picture of segregation between two communities. The cinematic palette isn’t always colourful. The dull and discordant images give away the forebodings. The eerie background score highlights the pain, the enslavement, the subjugation of people like Balram.
Throughout the movie, you can sense the tension between the two communities. Even though Ashok and Pinky claim to treat Balram with respect, they’re no different than the others. They claim that they’re free of the superiority complex but they are equally condescending. They keep on boasting about the lack of opportunity amidst lower class and do nothing to help them.
Pinky berates Balram for having pan stained shirt and shabby teeth. Ashok calls Balram ” half-baked” because he couldn’t finish his education. Not everybody is blessed with the financial stability to continue higher studies. Balram had to let go of his dreams due to his family. Ashok, Pinky, and all the Storks frame Balram for a heinous crime he didn’t commit. Even though Pinky feels guilty for this act, nobody ever raises a voice and tells the truth. Not even Pinky gives Balram the salary that he deserves.
The idea of less payment and more work is imbibed in their minds. Somehow the upper class knows that nobody has the guts to raise a voice against injustice. Their schematic minds are always busy laying traps so that they don’t have to pay taxes. Check out this behind the screen footage to see how The White Tiger was made –
The Cast of The White Tiger
Priyanka Chopra Jonas gives one of the best performances in years. She returns to her roots and delivers a mind-blowing performance. She taps her original potential and delivers something truly unique. Rajkummar Rao as Ashok is another brilliant addition. He perfectly portrays the coy, snobbish, half-witted USA returnee with no backbone of his own. Ashok rarely has an opinion of his own and is always pushed by others.
However, the star of the show is Adarsh Gourav as Balram Halwai. He brings out the pain, the trauma, and agony of a class that nobody pays any attention to. Adarsh Gourav’s acting was so dynamic and empowering that he has already received a nomination as Best Male Lead in Independent Spirit Awards.
Bahrani always had a thing for the underdogs of the society. With Adarsh, he got the chance to show how a suppressed class revolts and doesn’t want to be left out of the loop. Our society should create equal opportunities. The rich being richer and the poor being poorer doesn’t make sense anymore.
The gripping performance of this star-studded movie has received enormous appreciation from all over the world. The narrative is realistic, heart-wrenching, and dipped in truth serum. The injustice against a particular community and continuous torment by the privileged class has to end.
Balram narrates his story in an email to former president Wen Jiabao when he came to visit India. He believes that the rule of the white is coming to an end. It’s time for the brown and yellow people to make a statement. Throughout The White Tiger, Balram boasts about how he became an entrepreneur from scratch. So, how does Balram climb the social ladder to escape from the clutches of the inherent social strata? How does he establish himself and build his empire? Go and watch The White Tiger now on Netflix to find out his journey.
If you’re on the lookout for another Priyanka Chopra Jonas movie, check out We Can Be Heroes – https://sleck.net/we-can-be-heroes-an-entertaining-but-childish-simple-superhero-movie/