The White Tiger (2021)

Review: The White Tiger (2021)
Dir: Ramin Bahrani

There have been many successful and unsuccessful attempts at adapting books to screen. A few films that were immensely successful that I remember are ‘Midnight’s Children’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and more recently ‘Kai Po Che’.

Arvind Adiga’s book ‘The White Tiger’ being adapted by Ramin Bahrani is another addition to the list of adaptations. Starring Adarsh Gourav as Balram Halwai, the film traces Balram’s life-changing story of his struggles with poverty and a brutal caste system to rise as a successful entrepreneur.

The film also has Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Rajkummar Rao in pivotal roles along with Mahesh Manjrekar and Vijay Maurya.

One of the biggest strengths of The White Tiger is the revelation of Adarsh Gourav and his performance as Balram Halwai. He is a single force that drives the film. Despite the loopholes in the plot, the over-repetitive sequences, Adarsh Gourav surprises you with his act each and every time. If ‘The White Tiger’ ends up being a decent watch, the credit solely must be given to Gourav.

Even the bigger stars, the likes of Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao (his American Accent being the worrisome factor throughout), Mahesh Manjrekar and Vijay Maurya don’t end up half-interesting in comparison with Balram’s character.

Also, the biggest problem in the film is the way the country is portrayed. Well, it’s understandable that the film is set in a rustic setting. But it’s a sad story when every International filmmaker looks at India as a poverty-stricken country and highlights the lows more than the highs – the living conditions, the over-use of expletives and people who are shown as sex-starved.

Well, there is definitely more to India than this and obviously a lot in better taste. People and mindsets have evolved. I guess it’s high time non-Indian filmmakers making a movie in India cater to such sensibilities.

While credit must be given to the way the makers have looked at societal issues but that’s not strong enough to hold the fort in the film.

In the end The White Tiger seems an over-hyped adaptation of the book with only Adarsh Gourav’s performance making the film watchable to an extent.

‘The White Tiger’ directed by Ramin Bahrani is now streaming on Netflix.

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