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Full of life, Lee's Pi is a winner

Manjulaa, NOV 22, 2012 DHNS : 0:56 IST
Undated publicity photograph shows Indian actor Sharma playing character Pi, standing near a tiger in a lifeboat, one of props used in film 'Life of Pi' by director Lee Indian actor Suraj Sharma (R) playing the character Pi, stands near a tiger named Richard Parker in a lifeboat, one of the props used in the new film 'Life of Pi' by director Ang Lee, in this undated publicity photograph from the film released to Reuters November 16, 2012. 'Life of Pi' is yet to hit movie theaters, but fans can already buy the film's trusty lifeboat that becomes home to a young Indian boy shipwrecked with a tiger. U.S. online retailer Gilt Groupe said on Friday that the lifeboat, replicated from real rafts used between the 1920s and 1950s, is among props from the movie up for sale next week. Pi's lifeboat is an important character throughout much of the movie and is essentially a film set in itself. REUTERS
Life of Pi
English (U/A)
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu
Director: Ang Lee

As the grown-up Pi unravels his story to an author interested in his tale, we are introduced very subtly to Pi’s current lifestyle, reflected behind him in the mise en scene in Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.

And the mise en scene is crowded — oh-so-crowded and filled with life’s ‘utilities’ — all of which Pi had done without and survived when he was shipwrecked as a boy with his only other companion on a life boat — a Royal Bengal Tiger.

It makes you realise with a start, that all you need to survive is not life’s comforts — so called — but grit, determination, will, a never-say-die attitude alongside lots of hope.

Lee’s Life of Pi is a film set on becoming part of cinematic history, not only for the tale that adroitly builds itself up and works its way into your hearts but because Lee leaves nothing to chance.

His work is absolute poetry in motion and so completely befitting of Martel’s allegorical tale — a tale told through the eyes of a grown man who remembers in vivid detail the days when he was shipwrecked on the Pacific Ocean.

This isn’t Tom Hanks in Castaway, trying to build his life on an island through FedEx cartons. Pi’s heroism comes from his understanding of what will keep him alive on that vast cold, ocean; his desire to hold onto life in the face of death and his facing and, overcoming his worst fears.

Martel’s book is powerful yet morbid in parts but Lee makes you feel a part of his work — and that is not just because it is in 3D!

Lee cleverly weaves into his narrative affection, kindness, fortitude, romance and an overwhelming desire to just be. Anyone who relates to this work will do so for this reason alone — or else will not.

As for the actors who bring this sense of life alive — Irrfan Khan is at once calm and compelling.

The debutant Delhi boy Suraj Sharma will soon find himself in thick of stars, as many as he sees from his boat every night reflected in his ocean.

If acting is what he wishes to pursue then the field is his to take. Lock, stock and barrel — only someone should have as perceptive a vision as Lee.

Last but not the least, those desirous of working in 3D should take their lessons here. Lee shows you the magic that this technology is capable of.

For here, 3D doesn’t jar or shock. It invites you in, takes you by the hand and lets you into Pi’s life — a life made more precious because it lives. An absolute watch.

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