Why Is The Driver In Priyanka Chopra And Rajkummar Rao Starrer The White Tiger Speaking In English?

The driver protagonist Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) speaks in English. We are happy that he is so well- educated. But drivers of well-to-do Delhi families do no converse with their employers in angrezi.

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Why Is The Driver In Priyanka Chopra And Rajkummar Rao Starrer The White Tiger Speaking In English?
Aravinda Adiga’s ambitious  novel The White Tiger is about  class conflict erupting into an individual’s civil war against his employers. It is a hardhitting  futuristic novel…at least I hope it is futuristic, I wouldn’t want my driver slapping me around while I am asleep…brought to film by actors who seem to believe that  high drama is the solution for all social evil. Every actor in the trailer of  Ramin Bahrani’s The White Tiger speaks in a high-pitched shrill voice that indicates they take the film and its socialist message very seriously.

The driver protagonist Balram  Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) speaks  in English. We are happy that he is so well- educated. But drivers  of well-to-do Delhi families do  no converse with their employers in angrezi. Balram speaks English as though it were the accepted language of  communication of the working class.

From this huge linguistic liberty the trailer of  The White Tiger  moves into top-gear absurdity. In one sequence after a road accident Balram is asked to sign a confession that he was alone  in the car when the accident happened. He then has a wake-up moment, a funny moment of epiphany, where he decides he will master his masters.

“I am  just one of those who has woken up while the rest of  you were sleeping,” Balram tells us in that scary  wake-up  voice I last heard in Parasites.

We were not sleeping, I promise you. Who can  sleep through that  background score in the trailer?  It  sounds  like a  janta –jagao banshee meant to drive away the Covid keeda. With both Rajkummar Rao and Priyanka Chopra miscast as the Sahib and his Begum, it is up to Adarsh Gourav to keep the plot believable. And he, poor chap, is  already at a disadvantage speaking in a language that drivers in India  don’t speak in. Unless the  driver is employed  by Shashi Tharoor.



Image source: SpotboyE archive
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