Netflix is bringing to life Aravind Adiga’s novel, “The White Tiger.” The novel is being adapted by Ramin Bahrani, the man behind “99 Homes” and HBO’s “Fahrenheit 451.” Bahrani stated that the social themes in this new film are similar to those found in the mega-hit films “Lion” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Bahrani is also thrilled at the opportunity to direct this Netflix film because he is good friends with the novel’s writer, Adiga. The two attended Columbia University together.
“The author has been a close friend since college, and he wrote parts of the book in my apartment,” said Bahrani regarding Adiga to Deadline. “One man’s personal story encompasses the entire scope of the country, and it is done with biting humor. I’m not giving anything away because it is revealed early, but the chauffeur kills his master and steals all his money. But he is charming in the way that Alex was in A Clockwork Orange. Or in Goodfellas, where you knew that Joe Pesci’s character was a sociopath, but you could relate to Ray Liotta’s character, a seemingly nice person who goes down the wrong path. It is also similar to the characters in 99 Homes in that the only way for Andrew Garfield’s character to come back up was corruption, and the only way Michael Shannon’s character could succeed was to be corrupt.”
The novel follows the murderous activities of a driver from Banglore. He climbs up the ranks from one of India’s lowest castes to becoming a chauffeur and then a successful businessman. The storyline follows the driver’s rise from poverty, maneuvering corruption around a Chinese finance minister’s trip to Bangalore to learn about democracy and scheming his way to the top. Bahrani believes that fans will understand and relate to the characters of this dark story as well because the rags-to-riches theme has universal appeal.
“The concept of rich and poor is so global, all over the world, and the U.S. isn’t immune to it,” Bahrani told Deadline. “People here are feeling the same thing, it led to the rise of Bernie Sanders and a lot of people voted for Donald Trump because they saw him as the outsider who would change things. Clearly, he is not doing that, but people believed the concept at the time.”
Mukul Deora, Prem Akkaraju, and Ken Kamins are executive producing the film. Netflix has been expanding into the Indian market recently from streaming recent Bollywood hits to creating new original shows and films. Netflix’s chief Reed Hastings has discovered the potential to grow Netflix’s subscribers within India and they are actively working to woo their Indian fans.