The White Tiger is a thrilling story of an uneducated young man determined to make it to the top in modern India. It tells a tale of two worlds, divided by wealth and class, that will leave audiences amused and heartbroken.
Based on a novel of the same name, the film centres around Balram (Adarsh Gourav), a clever driver from a poor village in Northern India. Balram moves to Delhi with the youngest son of his employer, Ashok (Rajkummar Rao), and his Indian-American wife, Pinky (Priyanka Chopra).
The film is narrated by a future Balram—a successful entrepreneur writing a letter to a Chinese Businessman. The witty narration and impressive writing shine throughout as Balram explores what it means to be a servant or a master.
When Balram feels that there is a friendship developing between him and his employers he is sharply reminded of his position as a servant.
His more liberal bosses protest the caste system with one breath and swiftly remind him of his station with the next. He laments why his father has never taught him not to ‘itch his crotch’ in public or how to ‘brush his teeth’, behaviour that draws the ire of his masters.
The film takes a dark turn. No longer is the narration comedic, although it is equally poignant. Tragedy strikes upending the lives of the masters—and Balram. He realizes he will never be accepted into the family. He must use his guile and a bit of brute force to break out of the oppressive system, which he does fantastically.
The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias that will keep the audience firmly engaged. The way the film balances comedy with a deadly serious plot helps illustrate the two sides of India that the film explores. It is an entertaining and heart-breaking look into the haves and have-nots, the struggle between traditional and modern India. A portrayal of a broken and unequal system symbolized by Balram’s struggle to break free.
We’ve always known Balram will be successful. How he achieves this is reason to watch the film.