“It was a joy to unleash the tiger in actor Adarsh Gourav” ”“ director Ramin Bahrani

Ramin Bahrani, director of White Tiger with Rajkumar Rao, Priyanka Chopra and Adarsh Gourav

By Neeru Saluja

Is there is a white tiger lurking in every corner of India, roaring to tell their story? How big is the gap separating the servant class from the rich class? Can the story of servitude in the film ”˜White Tiger’ allow “the rooster to escape the coop?”

Needless to say that this rags-to-riches story with potential to win many awards successfully enthrals, provokes and forces us to reflect. There is betrayal, corruption, revenge, disillusionment and even murder.

Balram Halwai (actor Adarsh Gourav) is the son of a poor father that works in the village tea-shop but dies. His grandmother takes him out of school forcing him to work in his father’s place.

The movie provides some escapism for this determined young man as he manages to become a driver for the rich Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra-Jonas), who have arrived from America.

Using his training to serve and please his master ”” he cunningly makes himself indispensable to his young masters. But after a night of betrayal, he understands his position and status, forcing him to change his strategy.

Director Ramin Bahrani has successfully adapted Aravind Adiga’s New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel to make a gripping film but one that is light and fun. Actor Adarsh Gourav has succeeded in giving an incredible performance as Balram. The bet is on this film ending up with Oscar or two or more while Adarsh is touted to be the next Slumdog Millionaire.

Excerpts from our interview with the director Ramin Bahrani and actor Adarsh Gourav:

Critics all over the world are raving about the film. I personally loved the film and would like to applaud you – Ramin for your authentic direction and Adarsh for your remarkable acting. What was the process for developing this film from a book into a gripping movie?

Ramin: I have been waiting for 15 years to make this film. The author Aravind Adiga is a very close friend of mine since we were in college together. I read drafts of the book four years before it was published. I knew the book very well and was just waiting for a chance to make a film out of it. The story is funny, sarcastic and repulsive and it leaps out of your hands when you read it. The book revolves around the journey of one character – the lead Balram Halwai. I was lucky to find a talented actor like Adarsh. He inspired me every day on set to become a better director. It was a joy to unleash him on set and do whatever he wanted to do. He would prowl around and roar at people and sometime be friendly to them.

Talking about the roaring tiger Adarsh – on your social media accounts you call yourself ”˜mostly an actor, occasionally a crow and currently the white tiger’. After the release of White Tiger and its impending success, which role do you foresee playing?


Adarsh: Whatever interesting comes my way. I don’t have anything planned for the future. I just want to work with people who inspire me, have a distinct voice and want to experiment. I’m looking forwards to which doors open for me after this project.

Whenever a movie is made on a best seller book, the pressure for the film to excel is immense. Did you both feel that pressure?

Ramin: I didn’t really feel that way. You want to get it right but honestly I have never had more fun making this movie than any movie I have made before. I felt so comfortable and at home in India because the crew was so friendly and brown. I have never had that experience in America. I felt like I wanted to take risk, have fun because there is something fun about the film, even though the second half turns into a darker space.

How was it working with seasoned actors Priyanka Chopra and Rajkumar Rao?

Adarsh: Initially, it was very daunting and I was intimidated by both of them when I heard I was working with them. The first time I met Priyanka was at her house and we sat and spoke like we already knew each other. We discussed food and family, and co-incidentally we were born in the same city and had some commonality between us. With Raj as well as we met each other at a hotel for a reading and he mentioned he had seen most of my films. I was almost in disbelief for how can an actor of such large stature know about me! We spoke about the film and life in general. Besides being prolific actors, both of them are just nice human beings. It’s such a bonus to work with such people because then the vibe on the set is just so positive and fun. The White Tiger is releasing on Netflix on 22 January

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=15926