Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gaurav) is a driver, raised and reared for the straight road. Yet he isn’t willing to go down that way. “Diversifying, sir?” he asks his employer, Mr. Ashok, with a slight lilt. Balram, in his own quiet way, is diversifying too.
And so we get the protagonist of The White Tiger, Ramin Bahrani’s adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s Booker-winning novel. Ramin, an American director of Iranian descent, fails to capture Delhi as strikingly as Adiga did.
We are shown the sights and sounds — from Paharganj to Connaught Place — but these fail to evoke the heat and grime. Balram isn’t a sympathetic figure in the book, but you feel for him anyway.
His fuming rage — against Ashok, against Delhi, against the landlords and his own bloodsucking dadi — was dealt with a sharpness I found missing in the film.
THE WHITE TIGER
CAST: Adarsh Gaurav, RajkummarRao, Priyanka Chopra, Vijay Mauryaa
DIRECTOR: Ramin Bahrani
STREAMING ON: Netflix