The White Tiger Not A Tiger Movie Review

The White Tiger Not A Tiger Movie Review was a controversial book when it released and won that big international prize. I'm pretty certain that this film adaptation is going to generate some “debate” as well. and right now I am not going to be reviewing The White Tiger.

Balram Halwai the protagonist ironically hails from a village named Laxmangarh, kyunki all he wants to do is not follow his elder brother, instead wants to live up to his own elder brother name Balram.

After he’s made to quit school to repay his family debt, he starts working at a tea-stall, hoping to emerge from the coal he’s tasked to break as a diamond. Soon he lies his way into a job as a driver at the village’s most affluent man's home.

Gradually he learns more about the privilege, eavesdrops on conversations, and through acute observations figures out various ways to denounce his older life and work towards the life he aspires to lead.

As much as Balram wants to up his stature in society,

he is just as desperate to leave his past behind.

and you know not behind in an underdog way,

somebody who would overcome obstacles,

but behind in a way that at this point he stopped

caring about who lives and who dies.

Which here can be interpreted in two ways.

One which says that modern India’s chasm between the have's

and have nots is so wide, there’s no institutional way to bridge it.

The other which penalizes Balram for his own misfortune

and daring to be a poor man with ambition.

Watching this film, it kind of becomes evident that Aravind Adigas' writing

and Ramin Bahrani’s adaptation, both want to give you the space

and information to make up your own mind about

all the characters you are seeing on screen.

There's enough opportunity to enter the scenery and check your own

biases by finding your reflections in people on display.

While there is the unfortunate Balram making even more unfortunate

life choices, there are also upper class men with God complex,

an Indian American with a savior complex and

an American educated Indian who’s anything but complex,

a very basic man who thinks he knows better than the whole

country put together, just because he has an international education.

And in some shape and form all these characters are upholders

of the very system they are seemingly looking down upon.

Balram in an attempt to escape the abominations of India's caste system,

doesn't think twice about throwing Muslims under the bus, repeatedly.

The upper class Indian zamindars who seem to have

made their money via various corrupt methods

are thwarted by the very politicians they thought were in their pockets.

The Indian American who wants to make every poor

Indian’s dreams come true by standing up for their rights,

gets overwhelmed within a matter of weeks when she realizes her “tough

Brooklyn upbringing” hasn’t quite equipped her to play Mother Teresa

and the Indian American entrepreneur who scoffs at castes and bribes,

eventually comfortably falls into the contours of privilege

designed for him by various generations, leading to an undoing.

So yeh film raasta nahi dikha rahi hai. It will be a gross generalisation to

say that its even portraying the true face of poor, rural, oppressed India

considering all the exposition-y voice over,

"on my lips there is a big contended smile”... "yes I can see it",

so all the slightly annoying voice over is from the point of view

of only one man, who has zoomorphised his own people as chickens,

silly animals bred for human consumption.

Unwittingly comparing himself to a white tiger,

which at the end of the day was yet another animal bred in captivity

for human enjoyment and spectacle.

You can even visit this link to verify

So. it's only his point of view, not a generalization.

The film wants you to feel the unfairness of the world we live in,

throughout its runtime.

The upstairs-downstairs-ness visual metaphor most famously

seen in movies like Parasite, Spirited Away.

Ashok and Pinky the rich masters with the most common names,

live high above in a tall tower,

whereas Balram curls up on a dusty mattress in the basement,

not allowed to go up unless summoned.

But when he hires employees of his own later in life,

he gets out of his upstairs office

and goes down to them to distribute their salaries.

So devoid people like Balram are of the luxury of owning their own time,

that female companionship has eluded them,

hardening them up to become pent-up monsters

Balram has never known tenderness,

hence his feelings towards Pinky are mostly that of lust,

but he is almost romantically infatuated by his male boss Ashok,

smelling his perfume deeply, calling him his ex at one point.

Actor Adarsh Gaurav, who I last remember seeing in 2017’s Mom,

here with his tone, accent, body language

and physical approach to the character

is all kinds of splendid as the mysterious Balram.

I am thoroughly impressed with the investment in the role

and the grasp on his craft to create and outshine even

Rajkumar Rao, Mahesh Manjrekar, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Vijay Maurya,

when they’re all sharing screen space.

The ever-dependable Rajkumar Rao is in a weird place here.

I believe for the first time I'm seeing him in a film

where the camera is not trained on him.

He’s playing a stencil stereotype with very little personality,

his role is mostly relegated to the scenery.

He effectively delivers the level of performance we’ve come to

expect of him, but unlike Ludo, it's not much to write home about.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, whose also a producer on this film,

as Pinky is the single embodiment of the entire Parasite Park family.

She has the most practiced accent of the two

and presents a realistic and moving performance,

most of us self-righteous do-gooders will identify with.

Most of the film plays out via an email Balram

is writing to the visiting Premier of China.

In this lengthy confession of everything he's done to

get to the point where he is a small business owner,

Balram spares no detail and also in his megalomania,

invites the Premier of China to set up shop together.

Now I'm to understand that in the book which admittedly I have not read,

these were unsent letters Balram writes over a couple of nights,

so writing emails and accepting his crimes doesn’t quite check out,

because from the first shot we know that he's got some serious

psychopath energy matlab kuch toh gadbad kari hai isne.

So, why is he confessing everything,

I feel like I'm skirting very close to giving away important plot points,

so I’ll stop here.

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