The White Tiger first reviews: Critics call it roaring success, ‘more realistic’ Slumdog Millionaire that’ll make Adarsh Gaurav a star
The first reviews for Ramin Bahrani’s The White Tiger are in. Scheduled for a selective theatrical release on January 8 and then an online release on Netflix, the film is considered among the front-runners for the upcoming awards season.
Starring newcomer Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the film is based on Aravind Adiga’s Man Booker prize-winning novel by the same name. Several critics of foreign publications have been impressed by Ramin’s modern retelling of Aravind’s story of India’s class struggles and the psychology of servitude.
In a glowing review, Variety’s Owen Gilberman wrote that the film presents a more realistic counter to Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. “Bahrani is no feel-good fantasist. The White Tiger taps engagingly into the rags-to-riches, Horatio-Alger-on-the-Ganges mythology that made Slumdog Millionaire a global sensation, but the movie also recognizes the earlier film as a fairy tale, positioning itself in key ways as the anti-Slumdog,” he wrote. The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney echoed the thought, also comparing the film’s exploration of class division with Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. He wrote, “The sting of underclass payback doesn’t rival that of, say, Parasite, but the movie taps into the same simmering rage of the have-nots, shafted out of an unyielding system in a perilously unbalanced world. It could almost be considered the anti-Slumdog Millionaire.”
Adarsh’s performance as the subservient and later cynical Balram was lauded by all. Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt introduced him as a “largely unknown actor whose soulful combination of sheer will and vulnerability should, in a just world, win him the kind of accolades that helped make Slumdog’s Dev Patel a star.” Meanwhile, the Variety review called his performance a ‘small marvel’. “He’s charismatic in a nearly silent way, and he lets us see how the reflex to obey — not to up his salary but to ask for less of one, to bow and scrape before employers he views as masters — has been programmed into him,” it read.
Rajkummar, who plays the Balram’s master Ashok, was called a ‘charismatic Bollywood star’ while Priyanka was credited for bringing emotional depth to a smaller role.
Ramin’s film, however, has not been called flawless. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote, “I could have done without Balram introducing himself through the hackneyed 90s device of the freeze-frame/voiceover, bringing us into his story at its highest moment of car-crash drama and tragedy – everything but a needle-scratch into silence.” Some critics were also not all for the moments of heavy expositioning either.
The White Tiger also stars Mahesh Manjrekar and is co-produced by Priyanka, Mukul Deora and Ava DuVernay. It will be out on Netflix on January 22.
Follow @htshowbiz on Twitter
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Priyanka Chopra has shared Jungle Mantra, an original song from the White Tiger soundtrack, by Divine, featuring Vince Staples and Pusha T. Listen here.
- Actor Ray Fisher has released a lengthy statement confirming his removal from the upcoming Flash movie, amid his standoff with Warner Bros.
- Actor Armie Hammer announced that he is quitting his upcoming film, amid a scandal around messages that he allegedly sent a woman.
- Patralekhaa spotted Rajkummar Rao on a hoarding of The White Tiger in New York and shared a picture on Instagram stories. She reminisced about his incredible journey, from Gurugram to New York.
- One Night in Miami movie review: Debutante director Regina King extracts terrific performances from her four leading men, in a high-concept drama about power and responsibility.
- Bruce Willis was clicked without a mask at a pharmacy in Los Angeles on Monday. He later said that it was an 'error in judgment'.
- First footage from high-profile upcoming films starring Chris Hemsworth, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dwayne Johnson, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Adams, and others, has been revealed by Netflix.
- In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, spoke about India's role in the future of the MCU, and the mind-bending WandaVision, the studio's first streaming series.