The White Tiger, the film adaptation of the Booker prize-winning book by Aravind Adiga, marks a new stage in the convergence of the world’s two most powerful film industries, in the US and India.
Like Bong Joon-ho’s multiple award winner Parasite, The White Tiger is a film about the upper class, and their hired help turning against them; it is directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes) and among its producers are A Wrinkle in Time’s Ava DuVernay, and Indian actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas (who also plays a major role in the film).
The film was snapped up by Netflix – and it is no overestimation to say that streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have played a key role in enabling this surge of interest in South Asian stories. The interest in south Asian stories is not limited to prestigious India-set novels, however.
Evil Eye, a horror film released on Amazon Prime Video as part of the Welcome to Blumhouse series, combined supernatural elements and domestic abuse, drawing on India’s storytelling tradition from myths and superstitions, with an excellent south Asian cast.
Chopra Jonas also acted as an executive producer, alongside Jason Blum, who produced Get Out and Us. “With Welcome to the Blumhouse, we wanted to use under-represented film-makers,” says Blum. “I’m very against tokenism. If you’re going to do it, you should do it, and it’s led to unusual and interesting movies that represent our audience more completely.
The White Tiger is on Netflix on 22 January. Funny Boy and Never Have I Ever season one are on Netflix. Four new Welcome to the Blumhouse titles – The Manor, Black As Night, Madres and Bingo – will be on Amazon Prime Video this year.