Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Plot: Entrepreneur Balram Halwai relates his rags-to-riches life story via an email that he sends to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, in the hopes of being able to meet with him to discuss India’s budding entrepreneurs with regards to outsourcing.
Review: The White Tiger was directed by Iranian-American director Ramin Bahrani while Priyanka Chopra Jonas serves as the female lead and executive producer. The film is an adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s 2008 novel of the same name.
The story follows the life of Balram Halwai (Adash Gourav) who comes from a poor Indian village and a family dominated by a conniving grandmother. He is forced to drop out of school to pay servitude to the landlord after his father finds himself in debt. But he never stopped dreaming about breaking free from poverty and wanting something more out of life. The film holds a magnifying glass up to the fractured nature of Indian society and their caste system. Balram’s narratives throughout the film, though sometimes simple in their wording, resonate with satirical humour and deliver a deeper message to the audience.
Balram’s story is meant to provoke the audience into exploring the horrors that occur amongst the caste system of India by putting class oppression on their own people. The film also goes on to highlight the high-end political corruption and the global economic trend of outsourcing out of India.
The film will give you a vibe of Slumdog Millionaire (2008) meets Parasite (2019). Gourav’s performance is definitely worth watching and has a strong chance of becoming an Oscar contender. His performance is a mixture of so many emotions — it’s energetic, funny, sympathetic, and frightening. His convincing portrayal of a man who is an unworthy member of the servant class starts off with a deeply blind devotion to his master and soon takes a dark, twisted turn into a man who believes that he can take control of his own destiny. The story walks an extremely tricky line into almost making the audience believe that murder might be justifiable in this particular circumstance because Balram develops into an anti-hero of sorts.
The director uses many subtle nuances that are meant to shock the viewer and imbed itself in our minds. There is one particular scene that takes place on a funeral pyre that is not only slightly disturbing but also shows us how fickle and deceiving the body of a human being can be. The rawness of the abject poverty and the vast gap between the different classes of society is jarring but eye opening. The scary thing is with the Covid-19 pandemic currently in full swing this is a gap that will unfortunately get wider.
Another element that The White Tiger illustrates is the trapping of people in poverty so that there will always be someone who will be subservient to the wealthier class, which again is another form of psychological manipulation of the culture via the caste system traditions. It becomes extremely disconcerting to the viewer to realise how this traditional system still thrives, even though India’s economy has been on an upward stage of modern development in the areas of technology, entertainment and also nine of their special forces divisions are among the best in the world.
The White Tiger is already an early entry into my list of top movies for 2021. It’s that good folks! It is currently available on Netflix and it is currently trending at number one in at least 64 countries at the moment. If this film doesn’t get at least one award, then something is really wrong. Enjoy this gem guys!
Dark Alice’s Score: 8.5 out of 10
For my review of Priyanka Chopra’s The Sky is Pink you can click here.
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.