Ali Fazal has revealed that he auditioned for The White Tiger, and even read scenes with Adarsh Gourav, who earned a BAFTA nomination for his lead performance in the Netflix film, directed by Ramin Bahrani.
In an interview for which Adarsh was also present, Ali Fazal spoke about the process of auditioning, and made the ‘khulasa (revelation)’ that he’d read for a part in The White Tiger, based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Arvind Adiga.
He told Film Companion, “I even auditioned with you, Adarsh, for The White Tiger. This is a revelation. No one knows this. But I was there in the room for White Tiger, as well. It was a beautiful experience. I don’t remember which scene…”
But Adarsh did. He said, “I remember the scene. It was the drunk scene where you come in and I say ‘this room is like the Taj Mahal’ and you say ‘shut up, Balram’. And I’m not kidding bro, I’ve never, ever experienced… That scene we did, we did only once or twice, but I’ve rarely felt this connected to a co-actor. You were amazing.”
Ali said that he even received a message from Bahrani, who earned an Oscar nomination for his adapted screenplay for the film. “I’m so happy how it turned out, because it was really needed. It was a big, big step for us,” he said.
Previously, actor Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor had said that he’d come really close to being cast in The White Tiger, in the role that eventually went to Rajkummar Rao. Harsh had told RJ Siddharth Kannan, “The White Tiger, I auditioned for Rajkummar Rao’s role. I almost got it, as well. They really liked me for it. But Priyanka (Chopra) came on board, they wanted a slightly older actor, I looked very young. I am a lot younger, and Raj is such a phenomenal actor, but that was kind of a close call.”
While Ali Fazal didn’t specify which role he had auditioned for, the ‘drunk scene’ that he spoke about involves Balram Halwai and Ashok, Rajkummar Rao’s character.