Art & Entertainment

I Always Knew That Balram’s Role Had To Be Played By A Fresh Face: Mukul Deora On 'The White Tiger'

Producer Mukul Deora discusses his latest film ‘The White Tiger’, casting Adarsh Gourav and how Priyanka Chopra wowed the team with her with first ever audition

I Always Knew That Balram’s Role Had To Be Played By A Fresh Face: Mukul Deora On 'The White Tiger'
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Adarsh Gourav’s brilliant acting skills in Netflix’s "The White Tiger" has left audience spellbound. The film has topped the charts in 35 countries. In a conversation with Outlook’s Lachmi Deb Roy, producer Mukul Deora talks about finding the white tiger, Adarsh Gourav and how Priyanka Chopra literally flew into the project. Excerpts:

The White Tiger has managed to create a lot of buzz not just in India but also abroad. Your comments

Even though the story is set in India, I always had a strong inkling that it had the potential to talk to an international audience. Balram’s story about freedom and the price he had to pay for it, strongly resonated with me.

Right from the beginning, I wanted to make the film for a global audience and I intended to set it up with a global filmmaker. I was clear that I wanted it to become an international project.

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A still from the film

On finding Adarsh Gourav to play the role of Balram…

When I met Ramin, I had already read the book cover-to-cover. I had envisioned the story in my head and then all the amazing actors and directors who worked on it, helped me make my dream come true.

And even before I met Ramin, I was certain that Balram’s character should be played by a new face rather than a known actor. And we both agreed that the role had to be played by someone from India not by an NRI. Tess Joseph was an amazing casting director and when we saw Adarsh all three of us instantly knew that we had found our Balram. Once we got him, he was our fulcrum. Later we worked on casting the other characters--Balram’s master, the master’s wife, father and brother.

How was it getting the three of them together- Rajkumar Rao, Priyanka Chopra and Adarsh?

The challenging part about this story was that since all the main characters (except Balram) are related to one another, our cast had to gel and look like a family.

Pinky (Priyanka Chopra) and Ashok (Rajkumar Rao) are a married couple and we also have Ashok’s father and brother, while Balram (Adarsh Gourav) works as their driver.

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Priyanka Chopra literally flew into the project. She said she heard about the film and since the story was an adaptation of one of her favourite books, she said she wanted to be part of it.

We met her and she responded to the story as an actor and not as Priyanka Chopra, the global icon. She auditioned for the first time in her life and she blew us away with her performance.

As for Rajkumar, one of the first movies I asked Ramin to watch when we started working together before he came to India was ‘Newton’. And that’s how we got our cast together.

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