India’s Class Divide and Economic Boom Powerfully Reflected in Netflix Original, ‘The White Tiger’

Looking for something extraordinary to watch this weekend? Based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The White Tiger is now available to watch on Netflix.

Ramin Bahrani’s stunning feature film is a thrilling ride through the poor villages in India’s Gaya district to the crowded streets of Delhi, constantly examining class divide, booming economic growth, and the lasting effects of colonialism. 

Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) narrates his epic and darkly humorous rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India. Cunning and ambitious, he 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.

Critics all over have been quick to praise The White Tiger, with many drawing comparisons to Slumdog Millionaire, which swept the 2009 Academy Awards. But as A.O. Scott writes in the The New York Times, this is a very different story, “It isn’t luck, pluck or happy coincidence that propels Balram from his ragged beginnings to sleek triumph, but cunning, desperation and a coldbloodedness that can masquerade as servility.”

Hailed as a “modern-day epic for India“, there’s big buzz for this one. Watch it on Netflix tonight. 

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