Parasite wasn’t the first, nor the last, mainstream hit to tackle class struggles, but it’s certainly opened the door for the subject to become widely sought after in Hollywood. This time, we get to see how rigid class divisions play out in India, in Netflix’s upcoming Priyanka Chopra-produced (and starring) drama, The White Tiger, based on Aravind Adiga’s searing 2008 novel. But Chopra takes the backseat — literally — in The White Tiger, using her platform to bring to the screen a darkly-comic drama about an ambitious taxi driver who will do anything to rise above his means. Watch the trailer below.
The White Tiger Trailer
The White Tiger is kind of like if the driving scene in Parasite met The Great Gatsby, which is to say, it looks pretty good. Based on Adiga’s 2008 novel of the same name, The White Tiger stars Adarsh Gourav as Balram Halwai, a poor villager who earns a job as a driver for a wealthy couple, Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra-Jonas), and quickly becomes disillusioned with the corruption and wealth disparity that he witnesses. Inspired by the tale of the rare white tiger, Balram decides to claw himself out of India’s rigid class system — even if it costs other people their lives.
I read The White Tiger a little after it was published in 2008 — ironically, the same year that the much more sentimental Slumdog Millionaire became an awards darling — and was struck by the searing, darkly comic account of the underbelly of Indian society and the horrifying lengths that one man would take to break out of its rigid class structure. It’s a story that will play even better in a post-Parasite world, and could win over a lot of people, especially if Netflix were to play up those similarities.
Here is the synopsis for The White Tiger:
Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) narrates his epic and darkly humorous rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India. Cunning and ambitious, our young hero jockeys his way into becoming a driver for Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra-Jonas), who have just returned from America. Society has trained Balram to be one thing — a servant — so he makes himself indispensable to his rich masters. But after a night of betrayal, he realizes the corrupt lengths they will go to trap him and save themselves. On the verge of losing everything, Balram rebels against a rigged and unequal system to rise up and become a new kind of master. Based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel.
The White Tiger hits select theaters and Netflix on January 22, 2020.
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