Netflix will produce Ramin Bahrani’s adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s Booker prize-winning novel The White Tiger as a feature film, Deadline reported. Bahrani most recently directed 99 Homes, and has also completed shooting an adaptation of Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451 for HBO.
The 2008 novel traces Balram Halwai’s journey from chauffeur to successful businessman after he moves out of his village to Delhi and then to Bengaluru. The White Tiger explores issues of caste politics, religion and poverty.
Bahrani told Deadline that the book shares the social themes explored in other India-set films such as Slumdog Millionaire and Lion. “One man’s personal story encompasses the entire scope of the country, and it is done with biting humor,” Bahrani said. “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.”
The director also said that he sees the appeal of the film extend beyond India because of the universality of the theme. “The concept of rich and poor is so global, all over the world, and the U.S. isn’t immune to it. 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,” he said.