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Why Is The Driver Speaking In English?



Why Is The Driver Speaking In English? 13

 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. 

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