Reflections on Life of Pi

The Life of Pi is a visually beautiful film that asks deeper questions of our understanding of ourselves and the forces around us.

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    “It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.” ― Yann Martel, Life of Pi.

    The connection between Richard Parker (the tiger) and Mr Pi (the protagonist) portrayed in the film version of Life of Pi directed by Ang Lee is one that carries a deep philosophical meaning.

    It is important to understand the underlying concept of the connection between similar souls and formation of friendships, not only between human beings but also between humans and all living beings.

    “Animals have souls, I could see it in Richard Parker’s eyes” says Suraj Sharma as Pi in the movie. In this quote, Pi refers to the larger concept of entities being connected with each other and life being united with all living creatures, an understanding he happens to see in Richard Parker’s eyes.

    This is a very powerful message depicting that all living beings have souls, and particular souls that match each other can form a special bond. The bond which Pi and Richard Parker share is almost inevitable as they are portrayed as sharing the same soul surviving through stormy nights and hardships together.

    (Image: moo_sa / Flickr)

    Is there a higher entity which determines how we live our lives, leading to many miracles that can happen? The movie clearly depicts so with a regular boy stuck in a shipwreck for days and still having miraculously survived.

    Yes, he believes that “God” saved him and that there is a higher supernatural entity which was watching over him throughout his adventure in the sea. But even if we might debate whether our everyday experience supports the existence of God, most of us have experienced deep connection, synchronicity, even sometimes miraculous happenings, that we might attribute to forces beyond our understanding.

    The 3D effects of the movie are commendable. “Everything looks beautiful in Life of Pi. The dangerous animals look beautiful. The terrible storms look beautiful. The crashing ocean waves, the twinkling stars, the wondrous carnivorous island on which the hero at one point lands — pure gorgeousness, shimmering with all the wow that superlative 3-D technology has to offer”  says writer Lisa Schwartzman in a review that awarded the film a B+ grade.

    However, even with the amazing 3D effects there is a sense of melancholy depicted in Pi’s life among all the beautiful scenes and surroundings. It is not the regular story of a poor Indian family trying to get rich. It portrays Pi as a normal, well versed Indian male who is ready for adventure – just like anyone of that age might be, regardless of their background.

    Pi is from a well to do background, with his family owning a zoo, but he takes control of his own life and makes life his own. His curiosity and hope not only in religion but in life in general lets him live although through suffering of having to lose his family.

    “The movie invites you to believe in all kinds of marvelous things, but it also may cause you to doubt what you see with your own eyes — or even to wonder if, in the end, you have seen anything at all” says A.O. Scott from The New York Times.

    That is the marvel of the movie: it makes you think about life and whether anything we experience is really our own. As Scott says, it makes us wonder if we’ve seen anything at all. It is very abstract yet understandable.

    Overall, a movie that is definitely worth a watch regardless of where you come from.