Hearing this definitely took me back to my college days and it was the hottest jam.
Yeah! Yeah. And everyone knows that, you know?
Something that I heard you say recently that really resonated with me was when you said that with the advent of the cell phone it was like you had a sweatshop in your pocket. And I thought about it when the movie discusses the idea that America is so “yesterday” and the future of the world is with “the yellow man and the brown man”. Especially now that the film is getting a high number of viewers internationally – do you think this is an idea people are somewhat responding to, to the failures of globalism?
100 per cent. I’ve always felt that, and I know when we showed the first cut to Scott Stuber, the director of Netflix. He called me up, he liked the first cut a lot, and he said – I’ll never forget that – he said, “My God, I thought it was going to have global appeal when we lit the movie. , but in the tragic time of COVID ”- it was just April, COVID had just spread around the world – he said,“ Now this is even more relevant to the world. And I thought, “My God, he’s right,” because the loopholes in wealth inequality have been exposed and the cracks have widened since COVID started, haven’t they? We saw the gap even more, and the pressures became unbearable, untenable. I think people are starting to realize more and more that middle class means you barely succeed, and if there’s a problem you’re basically in that month where if something happens in one month, you collapse the next month. You are suddenly kicked out, as we saw in “99 Homes”, or worse. We applaud our healthcare workers, many of whom don’t have health insurance, at least in America. Other countries have a more civilized form of health care. So I think in a tragic way it made it more relevant.
You have movies like this, that explore these ideas and really get you thinking, and sometimes you get viewers asking, ‘What is this movie telling me to do? What is the directive? But the characters don’t always express the director’s point of view. In “The White Tiger”, they are meant to make you question what you accept as the norm, question the status quo, rather than just accept the idea that hard work equals success, and that’s all it takes.
The only thing I don’t want to do with any of my films is preach or deliver a message. First of all, you’re just trying to tell an entertaining story with great characters, and in this case I had Aravind Adiga’s brilliant book. Like we talked about last time around, it was so propulsive, and the main character was so funny and so complex, witty and sarcastic, and at the end of the movie you don’t really know what to think of the characters. His immediate masters, Ashok and Pinky, are not horrible people. They’re kind to him sometimes, they’re well-meaning, they’re kinda awake, right? They are from New York. They have wide-ranging liberal ideas. But when things are going well, they don’t do the right thing, but the main character also doesn’t do the right thing. He commits acts that are questionable. Even though we say ‘do the right thing’ it reminds me of Spike Lee’s brilliant film ‘Do the Right Thing’, where things hit a pressure point where you don’t really know what exactly is the right thing to do. . It is so complex. You don’t want to give an easy answer. You hope the audience will think about it, you hope they will talk about it.