Life of Pi : An Adventure and Some Great Life Lessons!

After the creative extravaganza of ‘The Avtar’ and the ‘Three Musketeers’, here comes another Hollywood movie, that promises a lot on the unlimited possibilities the 3D Technology and the CGI Technology offer the viewers.  Having seen, the movie, I must say, the movie has impressed me, almost as much as ‘The Avtar’ did!

The Plot
Based on the best selling novel by Yan Martel (not just best selling, but Man-Booker Prize Winner too), the initial part of the story is set in India, Pondicherry. 

To go further, Pi (played by Irrfan Khan) is having a conversation with his french Author-friend and tells him how he survived 227 days on a life boat with only a Bengal Tiger (Richard Parker, the tiger is named) for company. He is also picked up by two Japanese Maritime Officials so as to investigate how the ship sank.  The Officials don’t believe his outlandish story and dismisses him.  But what exactly is Pi’ story, and that’s what the movie is all about. 

Son of a Zoo-Keeper, Santosh Patel, Pi of Piscene Patel is born to an affluent family.  The boy is, pretty aware of the need to co-exist in a world with animals and also is quite understanding of their needs.  Raised as a Hindu, he is also introduced to Islam and Christianity and is a believer of the ‘Vasudeva Kudumbakom’, in true Indian Psychology! The family, one fine day, decide to relocate to Canada due to political turmoil in their native place and sells some of their animals, and also carrying some with them on their journey in the high seas.  Their ship encounters a heavy storm and is wrecked and his family along with the ship and the crew sinks.  Pi soon finds himself stranded on a life boat in the high seas with four animals, a Hyena, a Zebra, an Orangutan and a Bengal Tiger.

The rest of the Pi’s tale is how he survives 227 days on the sea with the Tiger (He names the tiger as Richard Parker).  All the while, Pi assigns in each animal, a distinctive personality based upon his observations and the people in his own life.  The other animals die as the Hyena kills the Zebra and the Orangutan out of hunger.   The Hyena inturn gets killed by Richard Parker.  Pi now realises the need to keep Richard Parker in good humour in order to save himself, and feeds him fish. He eventually develops a bond of friendship with Parker and they both realise and appreciate the need of each other for their own survival. 

They ultimately reach the coast of mexico soon, Richard Parker escapes into a jungle without looking back at Pi leaving him in distress and even making him question their friendship itself.

The Cast

Irrfan Khan plays the role of the grown-up Pi, who is being quizzed by the Japanese Officials about the ship wreck and his tale of survival.  The officials don’t believe his story of survival along with the Bengal Tiger, so Irrfan then substitutes his tale with another one with people in his real life and asks whether the story is more believable now.  He is absolutely fantastic with his accent and does a fantastic job.  After ‘The Namesake’, an excellent performance from him. 

Tabu, plays the role of Pi’s mother, Gita Patel, with aplomb and is impressive.  Adil Hussain is Santosh Patel, Pi’s father.

In spite of this luminous star-cast, Suraj Sharma as the teen-aged Pi is the back-bone of the movie and is fantastic.  French and Hollywood actor, Gerard Dipardieu appears in a Cameo as the Cook of the Ship and no word is required to describe how this wonderful actor has performed.  

Underlying layers in the story

Just as the boy finds that his class-mates in Pondicherry is quite amused as to how someone could be named ‘Pissing Patel’, he shortens his name to Pi, the mathematical constant, having ‘no end’.  The story, too, has lots of inner-layers to it, and each animal represents a different character or a person in Pi’s life.  The tale of surviving 227 days with a tiger is as much a tale of how to see with-in and to survive in adversities and believing in one-self.  It is a wonderful story of growing-up and survival and is a must watch! If you have not read the book already that is.

Many have asked me, as to what is so grand, about a boy being castaway with a Bengal Tiger for company, and I would say, this is not just a fantasy story. The life-boat represents our life itself, the calm seas and the storms, its ups and downs.  The Tiger is Pi’s Self-Destructive Alter Ego, and the movie is all about how one should spend his life, fighting and taming the destructive self.  It is a story about courage, and self-belief as much as it is a story of spiritual and philosophical overtures. 

Directed by Ang Lee, who won Oscars for his ‘CrouchingTiger, Hidden Dragon’ and has directed ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’, The Life of Pi, overall, is a wonderful movie, and can be enjoyed by everyone alike.  The only thing that i was miffed with was because, for some unknown reason, Gerard Depardieu has been given such an insignificant role.  He appears in just one scene, and it cannot even be called a Guest Appearance.  Such a great actor, and he has nothing to do here! 

Buy still, Embark on this adventure and discover yourself along with Pi, on a journey that knows no end! Miss it, and you have missed one of the best movies that has come out in recent times! 


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