Sucking out pure awesomeness from technology, Ang Lee successfully injects a plasma of double-edged justification that veins out the mystical soul of Life Of Pi. Moulding out a fantastical masterpiece from the shapelessness of god (and religion), Lee’s adaptation maintains fidelity to Yann Martel’s bestseller book by the same name, and is one of those films that’s equally, if not more, as good as the book.
The film is an account of Pi (Irrfan Khan) revealing his story to a writer (Rafe Spall playing Yann Martel), a story that’ll not only amaze the author but shall even instill in him a belief of god. Framing up of the story begins in French India, where the protagonist Piscene ‘Pissing’ Patel was born to a Hindu household, but along with Hinduism he practices Christianity and Islam with equal belief. Pi’s father owns a beautiful zoo (the animals of which have ornamented the delightful opening credits chronology) and for some reason their family has to move to Canada to trade the animals for money. So off on a cruise they go over the Pacific Ocean, where tragedy strikes the freighter carrying the family, and Pi (Suraj Sharma) ends up in a lifeboat along with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a ferocious tiger; of which just Pi and the tiger remain till the end. How this odd couple reach a pact for mutual coexistence in the confinements of the lifeboat in the midst of an ocean that stretches to infinity is what the remaining movie about.
Suraj Sharma has done full justice as the young Pi, while Irrfan Khan enacts Pi’s grayer version equally well. Adil Hussain and Tabu as Pi’s parents have pretty less screen space, but they do make most of what’s offerred. The real winner in this “spiritual” saga is definitely the CGI tiger, oddly named Richard Parker, a creation so believable that it could easily run chill up your spines and wet your eyes with sheer helplessness. Thankfully, the movie never tries to make the tiger look human, and has used the creature to pose the core question layering the story- that whether our life follows a particular pattern, and whether there lies a meaning to our existence. Apart from the tiger, the leaping whale and the sea-bed flora demonstrating a bluish green bioluminescence, the meercats-ridden island, and a beautiful visual through the tiger’s eyes that unearth a dreamy phosphorescent world beneath the ocean- all these add up to the visual appeal, dazzling the viewer with multiple visual orgasms.
Sadly enough, the grand finale restricts this saga from being a masterpiece, a climax which would’ve been more beautiful to witness on-screen than listening to events straight from the book. The end, that beautifully explains the magic of the film and shows Pi’s reliability as a narrator, is simply restricted to Suraj Sharma’s monologue, but leaving that part, the rest of the movie is a definite thumbs up!
Choosing on a theme that questions both fate and faith, Lee masterfully draws up the ‘concept’ of religion with the colorful palette. Does it amaze you? Yes. Does it makes you believe in God? Well, that’s an opinion for you to make. Do witness the magic in 3D, in the largest celluloid screen you could feast your eyes on, for you won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended.