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Life of Pi - a fascinating story | movie review

— by Parmita Borah | Bangalore

I cannot emphasize enough on the word 'beautiful' when I begin to describe Life of Pi. The fascinating story of juvenile Piscine Molitor, the lone survivor of a shipwreck as he travels across the Pacific ocean on a life boat, a makeshift raft and a ferocious Bengal tiger 'Richard Parker' for a companion. The big question - will he make it?

Life Of Pi - a film by Ang Lee
Irfan Khan as an adult Pi does justice to his role. Tabu, Adil Hussain, Vibish Sivakumar as Pi's mother, father and brother too have delivered brief but memorable performances. (Being an Assamese it was a proud moment to watch Adil Hussain be part of something so coveted and well crafted). But, it's the teen actor Suraj Sharma who shoulders the mighty task of carrying the story forward, and does so skilfully by infusing the necessary maturity and innocence to Pi's character.

The most impressive part about the narrative is that although it's an adult Pi telling his story to a reporter (which means Pi actually lives), not once does the plot feels predictable. There are surprises, pleasant and shocking throughout the 127 minutes of exhilarating cinematic experience. Yann Martel's book leaves readers pondering at the end whether Pi's story is an allegory of another set of parallel events or vice versa, and questions the need for rationalizing faith. This was well achieved with Irfan Khan's narration juxtaposed with that of Suraj Sharma's.

Suraj Sharma, Tabu and Ang Lee
Ang Lee avoids the common Indian stereotypes and paints a pretty picture of Pondicherry, especially during the initial few minutes of name casting. With the 3D glasses on, everything appears at an arm's length. The background score is subtle and soothing but you wouldn't find yourself paying much attention to it. The visual effects transcends reality and merges the surreal. There is this one scene in particular where the entire ocean is covered with jelly fishes which makes you feel like 'this is what heaven must look like'.

Director Ang Lee's fascination towards picturesque, visually appealing cinema is no news to anyone, but with Life of Pi he achieved what James Cameron paved way for when he directed Avatar. 

- by Parmita Borah


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