2017 has been the year of stories about South Asian immigrant experiences in America; such as Hassan Minhaj's Netflix Special 'Homecoming King', or Aziz Ansari's Emmy winning 'Master Of None'. Another entry into this similar category comes in the form of 'The Tiger Hunter', a unique story about making it in 1970's America.
'The Tiger Hunter' looks like a full on comedy, with a lot of heart.
Featuring an unlikely lead in Danny Pudi, 'The Tiger Hunter' tells the story of an Indian immigrant coming to Chicago in the 70's to make a better life, and the struggles that come with it. Along with an ambition to make it, and a need to impress the father of the girl he wants to marry, Pudi's character has a lot of high expectations from America, none of which seems likely to be fulfilled. And the story looks to be his defiance of it, as well as ultimate acceptance of it.
On the surface, 'The Tiger Hunter' looks like a totally quirky, comedy given its premise and hijinks. The film even features supporting actors that are associated with silly comedies and rom-coms like Jon Heder ('Napolean Dynamite') and Rizwan Manji ('The Dictator'). However, there looks to be a soul within the movie that the trailer briefly focuses on.
It begins with the appearance of Bollywood actor Kay Kay Menon, playing Pudi's character's admired father, a renowned Tiger hunter. The trailer very briefly focuses on the high hopes and unrealistic ideas about America that most immigrants have prior to their arrival, and the desperation and hopelessness that follows upon understanding the reality. Their degrees aren't recognized, and the path to success is a long and tiring one that isn't improved by merely being in the country.
'The 'Tiger Hunter' trailer gives us a very funny movie with shenanigans and antics as a struggling middle class immigrant tries to marry the love of his life through deception and the help of his friends. The scenes and set ups look wonderful, bolstered only by the veteran comedic cast and their deliveries.
But the movie also definitely feels like it will get serious at times, tugging at heart strings to tell a story relatable to many immigrants. It's also worth noting that in the current climate within the USA, where immigration may end up becoming a thing of the past, a story like this could be incredibly relevant and important.
Pudi, a Chicago native himself, is half Indian, lending that much more authenticity to his performance. It's great seeing that an American movie like this is staying true to the representation by casting actors in their roles that are aware of these issues.