The White Tiger (2021) Movie Review

The White Tiger – A Brilliant Examination of Class in India

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Ramin Bahrini (Screenplay) Aravind Adiga (Book)

Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gourav, Mahesh Manjrekar, Perrie Kapernaros

Plot: The epic journey of a poor Indian driver who must use his wit and cunning to break free from servitude to his rich masters and rise to the top of the heap.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The White Tiger starts as we meet Balram (Gourav) a young man from India that grew up in the poor part of the country, known as the darkness, he knows he wants better only he believes he will only ever be a servant, finding a role as a driver for Ashok (Rao) and his wife Pinky (Chopra).

As the three become friends, despite Balram still working for them, they show him respect as an employee, rather than seeing as a servant, an incident changes everything, with the elders looking for Balram to take the fall, this is when he decides he needs to stop letting the rich take advantage of the poor.

Thoughts on The White Tiger

Characters & Performances – Balram grew up in the poorest part of India, he never got an education or facing much of a future, until he takes a job as a driver, seeing himself as a servant, working for one of the richest families around, he is treated badly until he starts working for the son of the family who has seen more of the world, places where servants are treated with respect, he sees the good in him and his wife, but always finds himself back at the bottom of the food chain. He is our narrator and we learn from the opening that he has made it rich, we are learning how this happened and how he refused to let the rich walk over the poor. Adarsh Gourav gives us the strongest performance in the film, seeing the moments where he is breaking down are the most powerful moments in the film. Ashok is the son of the family that give Balram the job, he has spent time in America, which has seen him open his eyes to treating people more equally, sticking up for Balram, but always being in his father shadow of traditions. Rajkummar Rao does everything very well through the film, showing the difficulties of being from power, wanting to be more accepting, but not understanding the divide. Pinky is the wife of Ashok who has always pushed him to treat people better, she is sick of the divides in the country and pushes for the family to treat Balram with respect, challenging the traditions of class in the country. Priyanka Chopra does bring us a strong character one we would have liked to have seen more off in the film. We do get a host of elders who all are looking at different people through different eyes who could both make a break the careers, caught up in the traditions instead of forward thinking.

StoryThe story here follows the life of a young man who grew up in the poor side of India to become a driver for a powerful family, giving him a chance to learn about the world and put himself into a position of power, a place where he is telling the story of how he got there. The story will give us an examination of class in India, seeing how the poor are never given much of a chance to make it in life, expected to work for the rich as servants, not employees, we focus on how one man looked to break the traditions in the culture after learning from everything that he sees as wrong in the previous methods. The one big weakness does come from the narration meaning we know success is going to happen, so anything truly bad is only a stepping stone or learning curve for the man.

ThemesThe White Tiger is a slick crime drama that shows how one man started at the bottom and worked his way up from servant to business man who never imagined making the money he could have in life, we are focused more on the cultural change happening in India, moving away from masters and slaves and more into the business world of opportunities and business.

The White Tiger is a smart, slick and stylish crime drama bringing to light the culture change in India.

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