The White Tiger: Gripping Rags to Riches Netflix movie
Narrated in a flashback by its protagonist, Balram (Adarsh Gourav). It is an adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s class parable. We meet a younger version of Balram growing up in a poor coal-mining village. Where he shows early promise as a student. Until his domineering grandmother pulls him out of school and puts him to work in a tea shop.
The movie showcases a poor but wily Balram who claws his way out of the caste cage and servitude. His goal is to become a success story in the new India. It’s a full-blooded assault on a rigged system designed to keep the privileged in their lofty place. While keeping the poor on the streets far below. Although it leans heavily on narration, the cinematography brings texture to the backdrop and a satisfying depth to the characters.
Balram’s wickedly conspiratorial narration gives The White Tiger an extra layer of satire. He unfolds his story as a kind of high-risk business plan. When most of the country lives in poverty, anyone trying to break out will have to resort to cutthroat tactics. Throughout the film, Balram likens the poor to roosters in a cage. Always unquestioningly loyal in their acceptance of an economic system forever stacked against them.
Bahrani doesn’t sensationalize or aestheticize poverty — or wealth, for that matter. And despite the movie’s considerable visual energy and upbeat musical selections, Bahrani doesn’t turn India into a flashy spectacle. He tries to keep his focus on the characters and the desperate circumstances in which they find themselves.
This approach works beautifully for about two-thirds of The White Tiger. It never loses your attention even with the occasional lapses in pacing. However, the film rushes through its violent closing passages. By the end, Balram may have become quite the businessman, but The White Tiger doesn’t quite close the deal. Though, it’s a movie you need to watch!