The White Tiger: All you need to know about Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gaurav's Netflix film
The White Tiger, written and directed by Ramin Bahrani, will release on Netflix on 22 January.
The White Tiger, a film adaptation of author Aravind Adiga's Man Booker Prize-winning book of the same name, begins streaming on Netflix tomorrow (22 January).
Early reviews of the film have been promising, with critics lauding Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao and newbie Adarsh Gaurav's "magnetic" performances, and the seamless storytelling by Iranian-American writer-director Ramin Bahrani. The movie has also created talk about being a contender in the upcoming awards race.
The 99 Homes director and Adiga have been friends since their days at Columbia University in the ’90s and he was reading rough drafts of the novel years before it was published. He’s even on the dedication page.
Chopra Jonas is also the executive producer along with Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
What's it about: The story charts Balram Halwai's (Gaurav) journey, who works as a driver for a wealthy businessman, played by Rao. He is ridiculed by his employers for his underprivileged background and is forced to take the fall for a crime he didn't commit, after which he becomes a successful entrepreneur. Chopra Jonas stars as Pinky Madam, a first-generation immigrant in the US, who is married to Rao's character Ashok.
Who else is there in the cast: Mahesh Manjrekar (The Stork), Swaroop Sampat (The Great Socialist), Vijay Maurya (The Mongoose), Vedant Sinha (Dharam), Nalneesh Neel (Vitiligo), Satish Kumar (Balram's father)
How Gaurav bagged Balram's role: Gaurav has been an unknown name before he joined The White Tiger to play the tenacious Balram. He made his debut as a young Rizwan in Karan Johar-directed My Name is Khan (2010). He also shared screen space with Manoj Bajpayee, Smita Tambe and Kumud Mishra in the 2017 drama Rukh.
"I was jobless for five months. I had given many auditions but was not getting any work. I was going through a lot of self-doubt. Then just as I was almost locked for one film, I got a call for The White Tiger audition. I had read the book as a teen and I knew the plot and knew what Balram’s character was about. I felt maybe the film was way too big and out of my league, but I decided to go ahead and audition anyway. After four to five rounds of auditions, I got locked for the part," Gaurav told Firstpost in a recent interview.
Bahrani told Financial Times even though a lot of Indian and diaspora actors wanted to play Balram, he envisioned someone who "wasn't a star or from a wealthy background."
The team is mostly Indian: Bahrani told Marie Claire UK he had wanted to work with an all Indian crew to bring the story to life. "They helped make it a more authentic film," he said.
The music: Music is crucial in cinematic storytelling and in some cases becomes as iconic as the film itself. For The White Tiger, the makers brought back songs by musicians like Gorillaz and rapper Fat Joe, only to "complement them with some awesome Indian songs, including 'Beware the Boys' (ft Jay Z)".
The White Tiger also includes an original single 'Jungle Mantra', a collaboration between DIVINE, Pusha T and Vince Staples, where they explore the universal themes of class disparity. This is DIVINE's second collaboration with Netflix after 'Kaam 25' for Sacred Games.
Listen to the song here
Jonas on choosing The White Tiger: The actor auditioned from home on video call, with a "tricky scene" that Bahrani says he always struggled with. For him, Jonas was a perfect fit for Pinky because no other actor was able to ace that scene in auditions before.
Why the makers chose Netflix: "They were hungry for it," Bahrani told The Associated Press, adding that The White Tiger is an "epic story" that required major resources, which traditional studios would not part with.
(With inputs from The Associated Press)
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