In 'White Tiger,' A Dickensian Rags-To-Riches Story Turns Psychological Thriller

The year 2008 saw the publication of Aravind Adiga 's novel The White Tiger and the release of the film Slumdog Millionaire , two stories about young men escaping poverty and defying the odds against the backdrop of a rapidly globalizing India. But Adiga's novel was a far more cynical and morally unsettling piece of work, with a protagonist who came into his fortune through acts of theft, deception and worse. Now, 12 years later, there's a darkly funny new movie adaptation of The White Tiger , and it plays even more like the flipside to Slumdog Millionaire 's pure-hearted optimism. There's even a cheeky line in the trailer about how there's no million-rupee game-show prize at the end of the story. That story is narrated in flashback by its protagonist, Balram, played by a superb Adarsh Gourav. We meet a younger version of Balram growing up in a poor coal-mining village, where he shows early promise as a student, until his domineering grandmother pulls him out of school and puts him to