Bollywood breakout: Why everyone’s talking about ‘The White Tiger’ star Adarsh Gourav

The Indian ‘Mom’ actor is set to make international waves

THE WHITE TIGER, ​Adarsh Gourav ​as ​Balram​ ​in THE WHITE TIGER​. Cr. Tejinder Singh Khamkha​/NETFLIX ​© ​2021
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As fans across the globe rave about the latest Netflix hit, The White Tiger, it seems those who've already binged Bridgerton have found a new star to fill that Duke of Hastings-shaped gap in their lives, in Indian actor, Adarsh Gourav, 26.

Gourav is currently winning rave reviews for his turn as Balram Halwai in the streamer's adaptation Indian author Aravind Adiga's 2008 debut novel, which won the Booker Prize that year. Gourav has long been known to Bollywood fans from 2017's Mom and Rukh, but has found a global audience thanks to his acclaimed portrayal of the servant-turned-entrepreneur.

"He's just phenomenal," White Tiger director Ramin Bahrani told Sky. "I was fortunate to find a great leading actor in Adarsh, who was able to … he brings a smile to your face because he's so charming, but also has the other side of him."

White Tiger. Rajkummar Rao as Ashok, Priyanka Chopra as Pinky Madam, Adarsh Gourav as Balram in White Tiger. Cr. Tejinder Singh Khamkha/NETFLIX © 2020
'The White Tiger' stars Rajkummar Rao as Ashok, Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Pinky Madam, and Adarsh Gourav as Balram. Netflix

The Jamshedpur native stars alongside Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

In the film, Gourav plays Balram, a man who escapes a life of poverty to become a servant and chauffeur to a wealthy family, including a married couple played by Bollywood star Rajkummar Rao as Ashok and Chopra Jonas as Ashok's wife, Pinky..

As the couple are the only members of the family who are nice to him, Balram worships them. But when he's asked to take the blame for one of their crimes, he begins to question where his loyalties lie and  plots his revenge.

"I had an incredible opportunity to live two lives in one character: the Balram from 'the darkness,' and the Balram from 'the light' when he becomes a successful businessman," the actor told Deadline's Contenders Film awards-season event.

Adopting a method approach to the role, Gourav also revealed that he had lived anonymously in an East Indian village and worked as a cleaner at a food stall in Delhi in order to get under the skin of what drives his complex character.

"Sometimes I would just snap out of it and think, 'What the hell am I doing here?'" he told The Cut. "And then I'd think, 'No. This is exactly what Balram would have felt when he was in the village working for the chai-store owner when he knew he was meant for bigger things.'"

And it's not just his character that's meant for bigger things. As his White Tiger director Bahrani, puts it: "I would say the world has found a star in Adarsh."