It is possible. Unlike Mumbai, the power of cinema in Delhi remains unanswered. Perhaps because Mumbai is a dream city, its image as a ‘mayanagri’ is very much in line with the natural hope of cinema.
In Mumbai, the rich can’t hide their rights – poverty is always a stone’s throw away, and it always is. The two have been taken aback by recent films such as Gully Boy and Serious Men. But in Delhi, a ghetto city, they may not have the right to sit in their ivory towers and remain oblivious to the underground, sweeping as it is under a carpet of trees and smoke. Chaiwallahs can be a millionaire in Mumbai, that’s what movies have taught us. In Delhi, they run through the streets.
Based on Aravind Adiga’s Booker Prize, White Tiger is a ridiculous movie – an antidote to anger at Slumdog Millionaire. That it is directed by a foreigner, Ramin Bahrani, is appropriate. Although the situation is changing, with Serious Men and Sir, two other films about slavery being released in the same year, prominent Indian filmmakers generally do not have the traditional views on dealing with relevant themes such as segregation of people and the oppression of young people in their yard. However, the letter was actually given to Bahran – he was a friend of Adiga in college. Imagine my surprise when I heard that he would be filming in Faridabad.
This isn’t the first time a filmmaker has shown interest in these ideas, either. Through a film that inspired famous film critic Roger Ebert to hail him as the ‘new American director’, Bahrani has always fought for the underprivileged. He continues the fight, starting with his best film – Man Push Cart – in The White Tiger, in which he gives a character who has been arrested and gagged for the rest of his life.
Born in Bihar and born to make bids for others, the story of Balram Halwai begins to work when his father appears to be sick and dying from systemic corruption.
And then, in the first few episodes that will remind you of the Parasite, Balram decides to stick with the richest man in the world, and look for a job as his driver in Delhi. In doing so, he embarks on a journey of violence that ends in violence as masterpiece director Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar winner.
It’s a perverted twist on the Disney trope movie, but the White Tiger, after all, is no more mythical than Aladdin or The Lion King.
American kids are growing up believing they can be president. In India, however, ambitions, like most people, are modest. The struggle of many Indians is not to rise to social status, but to maintain their position in it. By using the poisonous cocktail of fear and religion, we are taught at an early age to accept our channels, constantly being reminded that there will always be someone above us, waiting to be whipped, and then someone below is not ready to be beaten.