One Brilliant Moment in ‘The White Tiger’

There’s been enough coverage, critic rumbles and people ‘muah-thoo’ around The White Tiger. Hence, I am not going to waste your time ‘reviewing’ the movie.

The fact of the matter is that the representation of servant-class India in this film and the novel is a bitter truth of metro cities. In the coming years, the number of ‘yes-boss’ dogs in India will rise because;

“I want to serve my master.”

“My Master is my God.”

The film tames this idea to vocalize a man, who is a by-born-believed-to-be-slave and lets us walk through his journey to become the White Tiger.

Balram is the servant whose duty is to serve his master Ashok. While we are shown their world through the eyes of Balram with almost a noir camerawork to create empathy for him, the protagonist often confides never to trust him.

The brilliant moment comes almost at 3/4th of the film (half an hour before the end of the movie) when Balram physical action and his mind are already in a big conflict. The scene is:

Balram drove Ashok to a hotel. Ashok has a medium red bag full of cash. In a long shot, Balram comes out of the car, stands or walks in a distorted manner as if waiting for his master to come out. As Ashok walks away from the car to enter the hotel main door, Balram calls out the master. Ashok halts, turns and asks him to speak. Balram lips are trembling and the tongue is slipping; he says

“Sir, there is something… Something I want to tell you, sir.”

The camera is dragging in. The master gives a go-ahead. The single note of the music starts.

Cut to the close-up of Balram.

“Sir, I want to smash your skull and steal your money, sir.” His voice has a bit of angst, anger and guilt. The camera stays for more seconds and the master starts speaking.

“I know what you are thinking.”

The camera cuts to the POV of Balram showing Ashok.

“You miss home, don’t you?”

Balram nods in obedience. The master tells him to go on a trip, puts the bag on the car bonnet, while Balram stares at red bag Ashok gives him some money and the assurance not to worry about the expenses, says Good Night, takes the bag and leaves to the hotel.

Where’s the brilliance?

The close-up of Balram saying – “Sir, I want to smash your skull and steal your money, sir.”

That, if interpreted, is him talking in his mind while his master (who is not a God anymore, for him now) is curiously looking on his face. The line is not heard by Ashok which is clearly understood from his dialogue – “I know what you are thinking.”

In reality, he doesn’t know. He didn’t hear him. He couldn’t hear it.

The director chose the close-up shot in this specific moment to show that his brain is going to take control of his slave-minded brain and the physical action. He may not be a slave anymore.

That’s brilliant editing and direction.

I have tried not to give any spoiler. You must watch this film on Netflix for the adapted screenplay (nominated for Oscar), direction and acting.

See you next for another one aspect of Snyder Cut Justice League.

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