March 27, 2013

'Life of Pi' A tale of unmatched love

Watched the academy-award winning movie 'Life of Pi' last night. I must say, it's an amazing movie. No wonder how it bagged 4 Oscars this year. I am generally not a person who is always in the lookout for latest movies, but this one again was worth watching.

So there is this guy by the name of pi (Irfan Khan), who is the lead character or the protagonist of the story, was born in Pondichery which is in the southern part of India. The movie sort of gives an account of pi into his religious journey in the beginning. As to how he went from Vishnu to Jesus and Jesus to Allaah. Interestingly, Pi does not subscribe to any of these faiths per se. He tries to practice each of these religions in installments, so to speak.

Now, though it's just a movie and there is no reason why I should be overly critical about it, I do think it can lead people into thinking it is okay to, partially, subscribe to a faith. That's why I kind of liked the statement of pi's father, the agnostic.

"I would rather have you believe in something I don't believe in than believing in everything you come across."

And then he goes on to say religion is bakwas and it cannot explain most things. Hence, being a rational creature one should start from reason. Pi's mother says something similar to the effect, agreeing to his father. However, she says something much more important and worth paying attention to. She says while science and reason can indeed explain pretty much everything there is, neither can it explain the soul nor can it give it solace. Glory be to God, Allaah testifies in the Qur'an that the knowledge of soul is not given to any human being. Rather it is only with Allaah!

Probably, that's why when Pi is in trouble he calls unto Allaah only. Where does Vishnu or Jesus go? Even though in the beginning we see him calling to each one of them, when the time of crisis comes He only seeks Allah's help. Why? Because deep down inside he knows none can really deliver him out this mess except Allah. How do you explain it? If the soul were to be something known to the human beings they would have been able to tell you why this happens? When you worship, worship father, son and the holy ghost and when you seriously are in complete predicament you ask Allah to help you. Is this a joke or something you get to crack with the creator of the heavens and the earth? You may say this pi guy is saying his prayers too, how then could I say he is not worshiping Allah? Well, in Islam when someone prays to any other being as associates to Allah he clearly violates the 101-fundamental of the creed. The moment you are bringing in other stuff in your worship you are actually no longer a monotheist thus you are no longer worshiping Allah. Hence, your prayer or rather pi's prayer in this case is actually null and void.

Having said that, the movie does have loads of wisdom to reap out benefits from. For one thing, you learn how you come out of a severe situation and how you never ever lose hope in a situation where it is natural for you to believe that you are not going to survive. And when you see this type of strength from a teenager you feel you are more worthy of manning yourself up. And to avoid confusion, let me point out that I am referring to the strength of Pi's character.

You witness the true face of trial in the form of a thin teenage boy, that too with an adult royal bengal tiger! It is amazing how quickly Pi adopts himself to the situation and accepts the reality. The reality that he has to now spend a considerable amount of time with this ferocious creature, namely the tiger, if he does get himself killed before that. Lesson learned! Act quickly, the world is not a place for the sleuths. It is where the survival is of the fittest.

But the most profound lesson to me was the unmatched relationship between the human being and the tiger. The human being possesses the highest of intellects and the most superior of emotions. While the tiger being an animal obviously possesses an inferior mind, let alone having a superior intellect. In the relationship of Pi and Richard Parker, namely the tiger, I really find a sort of binary. It is like black and white, containing of completely opposite characteristics. Here you have a person having sensitive emotions, in fact more sensitive than most people I would argue. Considering we see him crying in the last scene reminiscing his days with Richard Parker. And you have a tiger that doesn't know what emotion is, it does not matter it. All it wants is food.

I feel that's the very reason why Richard Parker kind of makes an unsigned deal with Pi to come out of this impossible situation in the pacific ocean. And what do we see in the end? Richard Parker reaches the shore and immediately he reaches it he does not even look behind for once rather he waits in his tracks for a while and then enters the woods and disappears forever, oblivious to the emotions of Pi.


  1. have you read the book? This is actually one of the rare occasions when I haven't read the book before watching the movie lol