Life of Pi – The Zen of Cinema

by Puru


Nov 25, 2012


‘Life of Pi’ starring Suraj Sharma, Irfan Khan and Tabu and  directed by Aag Lee is based on a Man Booker Prize winning book with the same name by Yann Martel. This film tells the incredible story of Pi, stranded on a lifeboat after a shipwreck, with only a Royal Bengal Tiger for company.

The film starts with an older Pi Patel sharing his story with a writer, recounting his childhood days in a zoo in Pondicherry owned by his father. As the family tries to relocate to Canada with their animals, disaster strikes. Pi is the only survivor of the storm that wrecks their ship and is stranded in the middle of the Pacific ocean, sharing his lifeboat with a Zebra, Orangutan, Hynea and a Tiger named Richard Parker. Very soon, only Pi and the Tiger are left on the life boat and the rest of the film tells of their epic journey across the high seas and self discovery.


Life of Pi is not just a survival film, it is a spiritual voyage into rediscovering self and God. As the narrative unfolds after the shipwreck, you take a leap of faith into the vast seas with an adolescent Pi Patel and Richard Parker. The film is not fast paced; in a laid back manner it draws the viewers towards it and then settles them down in the same boat as Pi and Tiger. Together the audience watches fascinatingly as the boy and the tiger fight their own respective battles with loneliness and hunger and a midst all the hopelessness, forge a precious bond with each other. The emotions have been given a feather touch and the film has a philosophy of its own. The Director leaves it to the viewer to interpret things according to his own spiritual leanings. Recreating a book into a film is always a difficult task, the director should be appreciated for the efforts taken.

Life of pi - the illuminance

Ang Lee has created a masterpiece and I guess he knew it already while he was shooting the film. Life of Pi is a treat for the eyes and the soul. The visuals are breathtakingly beautiful and combined with the soothing background music, they manage to blur the difference between the surreal and reality; or the divine and earthly. There will be images from the film which will stay with you much after you have left the theater. Be it the Giant whale, the sea illuminated under the sky, the flying fish or the living island, one needs to see the spectacles to believe them.

Performances are strong. Irfan Khan and Tabu shine in their small roles. But it is Suraj Sharma who stands apart with a stellar performance as the adolescent Pi. My raving about performances will not be complete without mentioning the punch that Richard Parked has packed in his role. I hope the Tiger was real and not a CGI because he has given expressions which fables are made of.

Verdict: Watch this film to feel that your day was well spent. Life of Pi is the Zen of Cinema, watch it in its full 3 dimensional glory.

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About the Author


Puru is an IT Project Manager from Pune, India and an avid blogger. He is passionate about travel, photography, cinema and books. He blogs on Shadows Galore, Art House Cinema, The Mutinous Indian and Antarnaad.

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  1. Arti

    Excellent review! I am yet to watch this one and I am planning to read the book as well! The film sounds like a dream. Your review increases my curiosity a lot more that I always had with this one. 🙂

    • Puru

      Thanks Arti 🙂 Go and watch this in Movie theater in 3D. You will enjoy it thoroughly. Its like a beautiful dream 🙂

  2. Arun Kumar

    Thanks for this Wonderful review. I am a big fan of Yann Martel’s book and now liked it very much in the screen too.

    • Puru

      Thanks Arun. Am glad that you like the movie 🙂

  3. Neeraj Narayanan

    Very good review, and equally nice pictures selected, Puru!

    • Puru

      Thank you Neeraj 🙂

  4. umashankar pandey

    Your review is as beautiful as the movie, supplemented by beautiful clips. The book is a favourite of mine -I reread it before we went to watch the movie! Unfortunately, Most of Richard Parker is CGI!

    • Puru

      Thanks Uma.. to be honest, I hadn’t heard of this film earlier. Dunno whether I should be sad or glad that I did not know the story when was watching the film. But I loved it !

  5. vinay

    Wow, objective and beautiful review. Now I am more eager to watch this movie 🙂

    • Puru

      Thanks Vinay. Hope you like the film 🙂

  6. Anki S

    I am going for the movie today! Lets see how it is 🙂

    • Puru

      So did you like the movie ?


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