The White Tiger Review: Netflix Tackles India’s Class Struggle In A Solid Drama

The Illuminerdi's review of the newest Netflix original, The White Tiger, which explores India's class system with surprising honesty.
the white tiger review

Our review for the newest Netflix original, The White Tiger.

The drama, based on a Man Booker Prize-winning novel, follows the ambitious driver (Adarsh Gourav) of a rich Indian couple (Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Rajkummar Rao) as he uses his wit and cunning to escape from poverty and become an entrepreneur.


The White Tiger‘s Balram rises up from his childhood in poverty to his job as the driver for a rich indian couple as he tries to escape the cage that is Indian’s class system. The movie shows that in all its brutal honesty, portraying class clashes in a way that reminded me of last year’s Best Picture Winner at the Academy Awards, Parasite – and there are definitely quite a few other similarities between these two movies, in a good way.

Class Crisis In The White Tiger

the white tiger - priyanka chopra & adarsh gourav

Of course both movies explore the same theme: class, but in two very different countries. Gourav’s Balram and Kang-ho Song’s Ki Taek come from similar classes in their respective countries, they are both living in poverty and they are also doing the same job: drivers for a wealthy family. There are also some plot similarities between both movies, but I won’t dive deeper into that as this is a spoiler-free review.

Adarsh Gourav delivers a riveting performance. Some scenes really stay with you, and I can only hope that The White Tiger is his breakthrough so that we will see him in more movies. Hopefully it won’t be like with Barkhad Abdi, who had his breakthrough in Captain Phillips, where he starred alongside Tom Hanks and even was nominated for the Oscar for Best Performance by an actor in a supporting Role at the 2014’s Oscars. After that, he sadly only starred in small roles and I wouldn’t want Gourav to suffer the same fate.

While the movie does an amazing job at exploring the Indian class system, it suffers from inconsistent pacing. The first hour goes by really fast and feel exciting, but after the movie’s turning point, it loses quite a lot of steam with still an hour to go. While the second half has some great scenes and includes my favourite one in the movie, it really felt like the story was told at that point. You knew exactly what will inevitably happen, so half of the movie felt kind of pointless.

The White Tiger is a solid drama, however, and one that is still absolutely worth a shot. It shines when it tackles deep themes and gives us a breakthrough performance by Adarsh Gourav. Fans of 2019’s independent drama and Oscar Winner Parasite will definitely like it.


It is Rated R for language, violence and sexual material and is globally available on Netflix.

The White Tiger is based on the bestselling novel with the same name by Aravind Adiga. It was directed by Ramin Bahrani and stars: Adarsh Gourav, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Rajkummar Rao.

What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch The White Tiger? Or if you have seen it already, how did you like it? Let’s discuss everything in the comments down below and on our Twitter.



Picture of Finn Schlote

Finn Schlote

Finn thinks and talks about movies all day, has a strong interest in how movies are made and he loves great cinematography. Comedy or horror, arthouse or big-budget blockbuster, Finn watches everything. He is a passionate Blu-Ray collector and is still waiting for a Jumper (2008) sequel.