Aravind Adiga’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, “The White Tiger,” was published in 2008 but Ramin Bahrani began to see drafts four years earlier. He and the author had been friends since they were students at Columbia University and regularly shared manuscripts and screenplays. Mr. Bahrani, the director of movies including “Chop Shop” and “Man Push Cart,” was blown away by the story of Balram Halwai, who goes to work as a driver for a rich Indian family and charts a violent path out of poverty.
“The lead character, Balram Halwai, jumps out of the page,” said Mr. Bahrani, whose film of “The White Tiger” begins streaming Friday on Netflix . “He’s so complex and funny and sarcastic and dark. And his journey from poverty and from nothing to a successful entrepreneur was full of so many weird twists and turns that you don’t know where to sit with them at the end of the novel.”
Mr. Bahrani, who wrote the screenplay and directed “The White Tiger,” talked about getting to know his protagonist better while making the film. Edited from an interview.