Life of Pi is a movie directed by Ang Lee (Maker of Brokeback mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and stars Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Suraj Sharma and Adil Hussain in the main roles. The other characters are mainly animals particularly the Bengal Tiger who is named Richard Parker lolzzz.
This movie is based on the Booker Prize winning novel by the same name penned by Yann Martel. As the name suggests, the movie is about Piscine Molitor Patel also knows as Pi. The movie starts with the present day Pi, played by Irrfan Khan, retelling a story of his survival in the Pacific Ocean to a novel writer played by Rafe Spall. Pi is born in Pondicherry and is currently an immigrant in Canada. The story begins with Piscine’s childhood where everyone teases him as “Pissing” because of his name. He is named after a swimming pool in France that his Uncle was fond of and thus his parents named him Piscine so that he has a clean soul like the water in that incredible pool. Pi is taught swimming at a young age by his uncle Francis, who is portrayed rather hilariously with having a large chest and chicken legs. His father runs a zoo and owns a bunch of animals and is rather non-religious. Tabu plays the role of Pi’s mother, a devout Hindu and a vegetarian female lead. Because of his failing business, Pi’s family decide to move to Canada in Winnipeg where they could then sell off the animals in North America, earn some money to start fresh in the new country. While travelling in the Pacific Ocean, their Japanese ship is hit with thunderstorm and that causes the ship to sink leaving Pi, zebra and Orangutan on the boat along with a ferocious tiger named Richard Parker. The movie revolves around how Pi survives and swims ashore along with the Bengal Tiger. There is a twist in the end that I rather not disclose 🙂
The real actors in the movie are the background visuals and the cinematography. Each and every frame feels like a wonderful piece of art. The vast Ocean at night, the fishes swimming in the water, the thunderstorm and the rainbow after the storm subsides all make for amazing imagery. The special effects really are beautifully executed and to watch the movie in 3-d is a real joy. Ang Lee also uses the animals wisely and the viewer is exposed to each and every expression of the animals be it fear, compassion or sadness. Some scenes in particular like the sea filled with jelly fishes, the whale jumping out of the sea and the 5 minute duration when Pi and Richard Parker are looking in the ocean make for a great watch.
Life of Pi has beautiful visuals and a good story to back it up. The beginning credits roll out with an ensemble of animals walking around. We get to see Rhinos, hippos, elephants, birds, etc. The city of Pondicherry is shown brilliantly and Ang Lee has captured an Indian city without going overboard with the stereotype that other directors follow. Pi’s childhood (played by Gautam Belur) provides some humor quotient in the movie with scenes like his schoolmates making fun of his name, the way he tries to get the nickname of Pi and his interest in different religions. Tabu and Adil Hussain portray their short roles rather nicely as Pi’s parents.
The adoloscent Pi is portrayed by Suraj Sharma and has the most substantial amount of role in the movie along with the Bengal Tiger. The way Suraj interacts with the tiger and trains it, fetches food for it or when the tiger jumps in the water, all will make the viewer ask for more. I did find some parts of the movie stretched especially the divine intervention that Pi seeks near the end… It seemed unnecessary and repetitive.
I would rate the movie a must watch for everyone just for the great visuals, Richard Parker and some good 3-D special effects.