Full of life, Lee's Pi is a winner
Life of Pi
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.