Photograph of Ramin Bahrani (Edited) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, April 6, 2018 –Wikimedia Commons/Alice Barigelli.
CAIRO – 7 April 2018: An adaptation of Indian author Aravind Adiga's crime novel "The White Tiger" is coming to Netflix, with Ramin Bahrani of HBO's "Fahrenheit 451" and 2007 drama film "Chop Shop" set to direct.
Published in 2008, "The White Tiger" is a best-selling though controversial novel that holds nothing back in describing the criminal underbelly of India, ruthlessly criticizing the country's caste system and its various other issues through the use of black comedy. Its plotline follows a village boy's rise up the social ladder, starting off as a Bangalore driver before ruthlessly clawing his way up to the top, becoming a chauffeur and eventually a successful businessman, even if his hands are stained with blood.
The novel single-handily turned Adiga into a success, eventually winning the Man Booker Prize. Despite this, the book drew anger from Indian conservatives and nationalists, who believed the book was hateful and brought forth a negative image of India. More social commentary than story, "The White Tiger" isn't afraid to reflect what Adiga thinks of his country and everything wrong with it – a fact that's brought him fierce critics, but also loyal fans.
Bahrani, a personal friend of Adiga, told Deadline that the book reflects similar themes and messages found in the smash hit film "Slumdog Millionaire", suggesting that the adaptation will draw in a similar crowd. Speaking to Deadline, he said that he was waiting his entire career for a chance to make this film, and he plans to shoot it in India later this year.
A statement of his to Deadline reads:
"The author has been a close friend since college, and he wrote parts of the book in my apartment. 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."
Bahrani also drew comparisons between the book's characters and those in his previous film, "99 Homes", which starred Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, telling Deadline, “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 concept of rich and poor is so global, all over the world, and the U.S. isn’t immune to it.”