Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas-starrer film, which is based on author Aravind Adiga’s novel, ‘The White Tiger’, is all set to release this Friday. In hindsight, many, in the past, have tried to get a film adaption of the book for years, reported Associated Press.
‘The White Tiger’ is about a driver in India who rises to become a successful businessman despite the stratified caste system. The novel was an immediate hit and also won the Man Booker Prize in 2008.
The movie’s director, Ramin Bahrani, and the author are friends since the 90s and the former had the opportunity to read through the drafts of the novel before it was even published.
Bahrani was quick to point out that an ‘epic story’ like this needed heavy financing and resources to get it made in India, but its time of arrival in the market made it more difficult.
However, producer Mukul Deora told him that it was destined for the big screen. But since ‘Slumdog Millionaire’s’ release they were apprehensive about studios taking up the ‘The White Tiger’ project.
This is where Netflix comes into the picture.
Watch ‘The White Tiger’ trailer here:
“They (Netflix) were hungry for it,” Bahrani said. “They have an appetite for global stories, for voices that are not typically represented behind a camera or in front of the camera.”
And the novel’s protagonist is just that. The character didn’t enjoy any privileges growing up and was hungry for the same. According to a media report, many big movie stars showed their interest in playing the character but Bahrani had other plans. He said since the story is about an underdog from the underclass and it “should be played by an Indian, hopefully, an unknown India.”
Adarsh Gourav, a local working actor, was the man shortlisted.
Gourav was a fan of the book, too. It made him recognise his own privilege when he’d read it as a teenager and wanted to do justice to the role.
“It was a very humbling experience,” Gourav said.
The film does have a major Bollywood star in Rajkummar Rao, and, of course, Jonas, who wanted to be a part of the film for years and requested producers so that she can offer her services.
“I see myself at the beginning of my career and in the States right now,” Jonas said. “I’ve never (thought) just because I’ve had a career with almost 50 movies somewhere else that I should have that same kind of reception in a country that doesn’t know me. (But) when I first came over to this side of the world, it was hard because not a lot of parts are written for people who look like me.”
“We’re one-fifth of the world’s population, but you don’t see that represented in global entertainment,” she added.
“We tried to make a fun, fast, propulsive movie with a great lead character and an amazing set of performances,” Bahrani said.
“Anything else is a bonus.”
‘The White Tiger’, which represents the 21st-century “class divide” in India, is an entertainment piece, the makers say.