The White Tiger (2021) is a movie adaptation of a popular book with the same title. It is about an aspiring youngster from a backward village in India, who gets employed as a driver to a wealthy landlord to then becoming a shrewd businessman. As I had heard from my friends on how good the book was, my expectations for the movie were high, sadly they remained unmet and the film was ordinary to me. It is available on Netflix.
The film starts with a business owner Balram Halwai writing to the visiting Chinese Premier Mr Wen Jiabao for a meeting. In the email, he recalls his life journey from a poor village in Rajasthan to coming to New Delhi as a driver, then how he became an entrepreneur. Till the time he got himself employed as a driver the film was fine, but as our interest gets picked, the next one hour it just drags along with events happenings around him and Balram being just a passive observer. Then suddenly he does something and the climax comes and goes.
The film was all out about Balram Halwai played well by Adarsh Gourav. Talented actors like Priyanka Chopra & Rajkummar Rao are made to play simple roles with no significant contribution to the story. Compared to them Vijay Maurya who comes as the elder son of the landlord and called as ‘The Mongoose” impressed me with his performance.
The film feels it was made for a western viewer, to reinforce the image of India’s rich and poor divide they may have. For me, there was nothing new or not told in the decades past. The film straddles between highlighting the huge inequality in society and of a greedy crime. It makes references to corrupt politicians but shows nothing more. It features a cunning grandma, but I am left confused about why she is that way. The American returned wealthy couple played by Rajkummar & Priyanka are nice people but they suffer more than Balram in the story, why?