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Netflix latest 'The White Tiger' is a roaring success

Our Verdict: Four stars


Priyanka Chopra in the "The White Tiger"

Priyanka Chopra in the "The White Tiger"

Priyanka Chopra in the "The White Tiger"

SHE’S become a major Hollywood star, but Priyanka Chopra Jonas returns to her home country of India for this terrific and tense thriller.

It’s on Netflix from this weekend.

The actress, one of the biggest Bollywood stars India has ever produced, is excellent here among an on-form cast in a twisty moral drama.

But Adarsh Gourav steals the show as a young servant with street smarts and huge ambition who will do anything to find his way out of his family poverty trap. Expect to see lots more of him.

The movie’s got the vibrancy of Slumdog Millionaire, the darkness and light of a Martin Scorsese crime thriller and the pithy dark humour of Parasite.

Director Ramon Bahrani has done a fine job of harnessing the story’s dramatic heft, crafting it into a drama that feels large in scale and scope.

The ending, however, is a little overstuffed and tries to hard at emphasising a point already obvious to viewers.

Adapted from Indian author Aravind Adiga’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, the story is a scathing, dark and sometimes wickedly funny account of the class system, told through the eyes of an Indian boy.

The film is set around 2007 before the global economic meltdown took hold, and told through flashback in the years afterwards.

We first meet our central character and narrator, Balram (Gourav), who is sitting in the back of the car he usually drives for his boss, the wealthy Ashtok (Rao) and his beautiful wife Pinky Madam (Chopra Jonas).

They seem to be having a great night, until a collective look of horror comes over their faces.

The movie then goes back to tell us how Balram comes from a lower class in India’s caste system.

He’s bright, but forced out of school to help scrape a living for his poor family including his formidable grandmother, who should surely be up for Best Supporting Granny come the Oscars.

Desperate to get out of the poverty trap, and savvy enough to go about it, he gets a job as a driver for a wealthy family who spend much of their time evading taxes.

He’s a popular if inferior worker of servitude, happy to bow and fawn, until a shocking realisation of how willing the family is to throw him under the bus.

The White Tiger, while it wobbles in the final half hour, is a morality fable and very clever satire on rich and poor, anchored by a fantastic central character.

The stars: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gourav.

The story: An impoverished Indian boy aims to inveigle his way to the top.

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Online Editors