t’s the century of the brown man and the yellow man, and god save everybody else,” protagonist Balram Halwai audaciously declares in Netflix’s film adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s Booker Prize-winning novel The White Tiger, after making the rare leap from India’s poverty-stricken working class to the wealthy elite. But The White Tiger is no conventional rags-to-riches story, and Balram is not your typical hero.
Central to this blistering depiction of India, directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani (Fahrenheit 451, 99 Homes) and the 2008 novel on which it is based, is the theme of stark class inequalities.
Central to this blistering depiction of India, as well as the 2008 novel on which it is based, is the theme of stark class inequalities. The haves and have-nots. As Balram – played so strikingly by Indian actor Adarsh Gourav – points out: “In India, there are two kinds of people: those with big bellies and those with small bellies.”