News By/Courtesy: Aakash Raj | 02 Feb 2021 13:17pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Arvind Adiga's book adaptation
  • caste and servitude
  • dark humour

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga has won the Man-Booker Award. It is the Indian writer's fourth winner, including Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, and Kiran Desai's Inheritance of Loss. The White Tiger reveals such a mean-spirited voice and a vicious distortion of poor rural Indians' lives that it makes its celebration puzzling. The White Tiger is the tale of Balram Halwai, the son of a village rickshaw walla, who becomes the driver of the despised village landlord by wiles and determination. The book takes the form of a collection of letters detailing "the real India" from the writer, now a self-described entrepreneur in the booming hi-tech city of Bangalore, to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao. Early on, we heard that Balram (Adarsh Gourav) had committed murder and burglary. But all this is told not only by the excesses of the wealthy but also by the conditions of poor citizens, with comical pleasure. The novel, described by the Man-Booker committee as a humorous take on a different aspect of India, sets itself up as a corrective to one prevalent picture of the economic success of India. As an emblematic of poverty and savagery, the White Tiger prefers Bihar, the impoverished state in eastern India, always maligned by reporters who barely visit there to write on it. It could be an indication of humour because none of the characters is completely realized or compassionate. It's not subtle in approach, the tale of a weak but wise driver who claws his way out of the cage created by caste and servitude to become a success story in the new India. Nor should it be it is a full-blooded attack on a skewed economy designed to hold the rich in their exalted status and the oppressed well below on the sidewalks. Although it relies heavily on narration, the skittish cinematography of the film adds texture to the backdrop and the characters a pleasing dimension. Balram is the narrator; he is intelligent and ambitious yet doomed to work on the tea stand of his kin. He learns driving, masters the flattery the upper classes demand from their helpers and servants, and inveigles himself into a driving job for Ashok (played by Rajkummar Rao). Balram gives his urban, US-educated new boss absolute allegiance. Yet allegiance cuts in all directions. His ingratiating grin curdles as Balram is deceived by his superiors, and generations-worth of suppressed rage inevitably erupts. This is more difficult, more cynical, as opposed to the empathic acceptance of Bahrani's early films (Man Push Cart; Chop Shop). Balram says of the formula for success at the beginning of "The White Tiger," the fish-eye lens of Bahrani giving us a warped sense of perspective. "Straight and crooked, teasing and believing, sly and sincere, all at the same time.” In the final moments of the film, when Bahrani visually cracks the fourth wall again, evoking the greater themes of destruction he has manipulated during the previous two hours, the subtle aggression he gives is as acidic as the rest of The White Tiger. 

 

This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being. Further, despite all efforts that have been made to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the information published, 5thVoice.News shall not be responsible for any errors caused due to human error or otherwise.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 04 Feb 2021 10:18am IST


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