Netflix's powerful and unflinching film lives up to its title — and Aravind Adiga's award-winning book.Ishani Nath
“I offer to tell you, free of charge, the truth about India by telling you the story of my life,” says a well-dressed, cleanly coiffed Balram (Adarsh Gourav), sitting in a modern office decorated like a boutique Miami hotel room. That truth is a story of power — who has it, and who has to take it.
Set to a pulsing soundtrack of fusion remixes, the film adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s award-winning 2008 book, The White Tiger, takes viewers on a high-speed ride through the life of Balram Halwai, revealing how he went from a poor villager to the personal driver for a wealthy family to a cunning and cutthroat entrepreneur.
But don’t be fooled — this isn’t your typical “rags to riches” story. The White Tiger is as much a commentary on the parallel and unequal worlds of those dressed in rags and those bathed in riches as it is about Balram’s personal journey — and the story has even more bite in Netflix’s new film adaption of the same name.
Though the novel was praised for shining a light on the overlooked realities of India’s poor, Adiga himself is a middle-class, Madras-born writer who attended both Columbia and Oxford before working for Time magazine. In a 2008 interview, Adiga said that though The White Tiger is a work of fiction, he drew on real issues when writing the novel, such as having Balram’s father die of tuberculosis, considering that India has the
The Juggernaut tells untold, smart South Asian stories and news you won't find anywhere else.
It’s like your other email briefings. But browner. Join thousands and get the best newsletter that curates the global news on South Asia(ns) every Sunday. We also send updates on events, giveaways, our original reporting, and more. Unsubscribe anytime.