Life of Pi


Life of Pi
Release date: November 21, 2012
Directed by: Ang Lee
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Gérard Depardieu, Rafe Spall

Caution: Please don’t hyperventilate at the generous use of the word ‘beautiful’.

Life of Pi, adapted from its original namesake book, has a premise that borders on theism (rather, believing in yourself) and the contrast it shares with realism.

The plot is built upon a particular trying predicament in the life of Piscine Patel (Irrfan Khan) that solidified his faith and belief. He gets his name from Piscine Molitor – a swimming pool in France. How he’s rechristened to Pi is an endearing tale in itself. Pi’s mother (Tabu) reveres her religion and revels in the exuberant Hindu mythology by reciting tales of Vishnu to his brother Ravi and him.

Piscine’s father (Adil Hussain) is a businessman in Pondicherry, where the French colonial tastes still prevail. He starts a zoo within a restaurant as an attraction and gets a wide range of animals, i.e. a Royal Bengal Tiger, a zebra, orangutans, hyenas and  monkeys of course! Due to the Emergency of ’75 and the economic hardships of running a zoo in a cash-crunched country gets difficult for them, and Pi’s parents decide to relocate to Canada. What happens on their journey to Canada is what holds the spine of the film.

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, dangling against winds and waves, Life of Pi makes the optimum use of 3D effects. Whether it’s the underwater or radiant blue skies  with the sun shining and fading away, you’re immersed into the scenic gallery of nature’s wonders.  You absorb the sounds and somber background  score, gasping and heaving at the thrilling encounters on the boat. Dialogue takes a backseat and the narrative does manage to make it look sensible and perfect.

Adil Hussain gets a balanced Tamil dialect to his English, Suraj Sharma displays tenacity and desperation as the young Pi. Though the start of the story does seem a bit clunky, but the visual imagery is beautiful throughout. The underlying theme might appear as something which establishes a ground for religion and its relevance but it entirely isn’t that. I won’t reveal what it is for it’ll just give you freeloaders a kick.

To sum up, Life of Pi is what the title tells us, which he calls “Irrational as pi (the numeric value of 22/7)” And you don’t actually need to know what mathematical background pi belongs to. Life of Pi is enchanting and surreal, yet ethereal and binding. Watch this beautiful fest of marvelous creations to wonder about.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

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