If you read The White Tiger and watch Slumdog Millionaire in the same week, like I just did, you may just feel like you’re lost in a bit of India. You may just find yourself thinking that the main characters of both, Balram Halwai and Jamal Malik, are both in fact white tigers.
In Adiga’s The White Tiger, Balram Halwai is the smartest boy in his village, the son of a rickshaw puller, a chauffeur, and future entrepreneur. He happily tells his tale in epistolary fashion, while sitting under a chandelier, to Chinese premier Wen Jiabo. Halwai is such a strong character and his tale is both heartwarming and frightening. A fascinating read, and truly worthy of the Man Booker Prize it won.
Another white tiger from the Darkness of India is Slumdog Millionaire’s Jamal Malik. In this Oscar winner for Best Picture, young Jamal is arrested for probable cheating on the popular game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. While being questioned, the story of his life and how he got to the brink of winning big unfolds in flashback form. Here is another young man with such charisma, pure of heart, and longing for only one thing. I’m not sure if I liked the ending, but it was a stunning movie.