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Life of Pi

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, December 02, 2012

A few weeks ago, I accompanied my friends to watch one of the most awaited Bollywood flicks, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Until I breathe this life) at the local cinema.

RV, my Rotuman friend is obsessed with Anushka Sharma, so he generously offered to buy our tickets which we graciously accepted.

Jab Tak Han Jaan, the last directorial venture of Bollywood veteran Yash Chopra before his death last month, features star Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Sharma in the lead role.

During the interval while munching on the popcorns, I was left gaping in awe at this thrilling trailer.

I made up my mind that the next time I step into Village Six, it has to be Life of Pi and with that motivation I wrapped up work early last week Friday to watch this flick.

Life of Pi is based on the award winning fantasy adventure novel by Canadian author Yann Martel published in 2001.

The movie is about a daring Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) and his incredible story of survival with a tiger for company at sea in the Pacific Ocean.

The movie starts with older Pi (Irrfan Khan) recounting his experience to a struggling writer who is looking for a masterpiece to stamp his mark in the writing industry.

Younger Pi (played by debutante Suraj Sharma) lives with his family, who owns a zoo, in Pondicherry (now called Puducherry) in India.

To search for a better life his family decides to migrant to Canada with the animals from their zoo on a Japanese ship.

Calamity strikes and Pi is the only human survivor with a hyena, an injured zebra, and an orangutan in small lifeboat.

In the battle for the survival of the fittest, the hyena reigns supreme killing the zebra and the orangutan.

At this point Pi discovers Richard Parker (the Bengal tiger) who emerges from the boat's tarp and kills the irritating hyena. I felt sorry for the mothers who had no choice but to leave the cinema with their crying toddlers who were intimidated by the roar of ferocious Richard Parker.

Pi, fearing he would soon become the meal of the hungry tiger, constructs a raft tied to the boat and lives in it.

Realising he needed to get on board to survive the rest of the journey, Pi tries to befriend Richard Parker and starts training him.

The rest of the movie is about how they survive before getting rescued when their lifeboat washes up on an island.

Oscar winning director Ang Lee, who directed movies like Brokeback Mountain and Hulk, looks to have weaved his magic again for some Academy awards next year.

His ability to exploit 3D so richly and create spectacular computer generated visuals to get the message across to the audience is commendable.

Lee does a marvellous job to intertwine adventure with the search for the meaning of life.

Khan, who is one of my favourite Bollywood actors, spontaneous witty remarks while executing the narration is excellent to watch.

Sharma, who is said to have been selected from a group of 3000 talents, with his naïve look and unexploited acting skills, portrays his character with absolute brilliance.

While there is nothing new about people surviving shipwreck as I remember reading one - the Swiss Family Robinson - back in primary school but surviving with the unlikeliest companion is what makes this movie special.

Life of Pi may not be that heart-warming but it's definitely captivating to the eyes and mind.

It's all about the struggle to discover the meaning of life the hard way - the journey of a lifetime.

Life of Pi compels you to believe that God exists and even with the slightest ray of hope, he is there to help you out.

I haven't stopped buying my lottery tickets yet, I still see some hope.


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