Life of Pi released in theatres a couple of days back. It is based on a book of the same name by Yann Martel. The experience of reading a book can never be compared to watching a movie. Personally feel one must not compare but enjoy both experiences. Know many book lovers who never watch on –screen adaptations since they feel movies hardly justify the books they are based on, case in point- The Da Vinci code. However even though i am an avid reader myself, guess whenever a movie is based on a book, it just makes me more curious to see how it has been interpreted on-screen. How the director has bought to life the different scenes that we usually imagine while reading a book. It is not easy to match everyone’s imagination and portray it alive on-screen. Which is why making a story come alive on –screen when most people have read it, is all the more challenging i believe. And this is where Life of Pi scores.
I had not read the book, so just went without any background or inhibitions whatsoever to watch the movie.Obviously had read a couple of movie reviews, which I guess most of us do before going for any film. After all who wants to get bored by paying money! The crowd was a mix of youngsters, children with their parents and even a couple of oldies. Guess the movie trailers had appealed to all. Felt it was quite a decent matinee crowd for a non-bollywood movie two weeks after release. The lights went off and the Life of Pi just came alive, what followed afterwards was pure Magic.
Right from the opening scene which shows a natural zoo and then spans on to exploring the different animals in their various moods, the visuals right till the end of the movie are simply breathtaking. One of the main reasons why one should watch it in 3D .Each scene unfolds like a beautiful painting surpassing the one before it. The pace is leisurely, akin to reading a book where you take a moment to pause, reflect and then move on. It gels well with the theme of spirituality and self discovery that the movie hinges on.
The story is about a boy whose life is full of mysteries that he explores, beginning with his name itself- Piscine (Pissing) Patel. His first day at school where he renames himself, amongst his schoolmates tirelessly as Pai, shows his spark and determination. His first interaction with Richard parker (the tiger) shows his vulnerability. Anandi brings alive his romantic side while his introductions to different gods showcase his curiousness and quest for the truth. His struggles on the boat, till the end when he reclaims his life, show his survival spirit. All the performances are top class. Tough to believe that the tiger is actually a graphic. Looks completely natural. Menacing and equally beautiful.
Life of Pi is practical, wonderful and very much human. It encourages you to do some soul-searching. It re-iterates the fact that life is nothing but a discovery and the acts of god are nothing but mysterious elements woven around it. You unravel the mystery only when you explore them. And to each his own journey!
Also the story conceals another one within itself with humans in the same role as the animals. It’s for you to pick the version that you want to believe in.Go for it, it is meaningful cinema and a genre that will find its own audience. For the rest you have the usual fare running just a screen away.
As the movie rightly teaches- To each his own!