Life of Pi (2012)


Life of Pi is a wonderful movie based on a fantasy adventure novel with the same name written by Yann Martel. The novel published in 2001 went along and won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction the following year. It was adapted into a movie and made into a visual miracle by the director Ang Lee in 2012.


Cover designs of the Novel

The story centers on a young Indian boy named Pi, from Pondicherry who survives a shipwreck and is stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a rescue boat with a wild Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Pi tries to stay alive using the fear of Richard Parker to awake the survival instincts in him. The whole experience of Pi being stranded and left at mercy of the merciless ocean for survival brings some scenes into my memory of the movie Cast Away, the great classic of Tom Hanks. The movie went along and won four awards from eleven nominations, including Best Director at the 85th Academy Awards.


Ang Lee with his Oscar

The role of Pi or Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel is made immortal by surprisingly a new young actor, Suraj Sharma. Suraj is a student of philosophy at St. Stephen’s College at Delhi.  Actually the character of Pi is depicted in three stages of his life, one as a young boy, a teenage boy and as an adult. The teenage boy is played by Suraj Sharma and the adult by Irrfan Khan. When seeing the movie I was wondering to myself, how could you make such a movie? Ang Lee has gone ahead with Life of Pi and made himself one of the greatest movie directors of contemporary cinema.


Suraj Sharma, The Rise of a New Star

There is a song in the movie named Pi’s Lullaby which is a beautiful and melodious musical composition. It was composed by Mychael Danna and sung by Bombay Jayashri. The lyrics are in Tamil and was written by Bombay Jayashri. The song has been nominated in the Original Song category for the Oscar Awards of 2013.

Life of Pi has opened a new chapter in art of storytelling, as a magical story of adventure and survival in both its forms, the novel and the movie.

Interesting facts about the movie:

  • In 2010 Barack Obama wrote a letter directly to author Martel, describing Life of Pi as “an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling”
  • There were no actually shooting with the boy and a real Bengal tiger in the boat on the Pacific Ocean. Richard Parker itself is created and brought alive using very high tech CGI technology. The realistic dark blue waters of the Pacific Ocean is actually the water of a big swimming pool.
  • There is controversy with the musical composition of “Pi’s Lullaby”. The Irayimman Thampi Memorial Trust alleged that the first eight lines of the Bombay Jayashri’s song Pi’s Lullaby were not an original composition but a translation into Tamil of the Omanathinkal Kidavo. “Omanathinkal Kidavo” is a very popular lullaby in the Malayalam Language and was composed by Irayimman Thampi on the birth of the King of Travancore, Maharajah Swathi Thirunalm, Well, Bombay Jayashri says its her own creation. Whoever created it, the composition is a beautiful work of music.

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