There are some songs that get stuck in your brain and keep playing like a never ending record. Know that feeling? Well, something similar is happening to me, but this time it’s not a song, but a movie. Life of Pi. It’s more than a movie, it’s a complete experience. And I’m not saying it because of the awesome effects, the coolest CGI Royal Bengal tiger that never existed or the breathtaking visual feast that each frame of the film offers its audience. But it’s one of those experiences that reiterates the passion of filmmakers and the audiences’ love for cinema. It shows you that filmmaking is not just about digital wizardry or excellent cinematography or awesomely superb story telling, but that a movie is ultimately more than the sum of its parts. Life of Pi is in the true sense what great movies aspire to be – a living experience that awes you visually, moves you emotionally and connects with you spiritually.
So ever since I watched the film, scenes, moments, snatches of it have been spooling in my mind. Based on the much-acclaimed book by Yann Martel I would stick my neck out and say that the film is much better than the book it has been adapted from. It takes the original story of a ship-wrecked boy stranded on a lifeboat with a man-eating Royal Bengal Tiger to much deeper, humane and spiritual levels. The special effects may dazzle the eyes but the ideas behind the visual feast leave you awed and wondrous. Writing a screenplay that has such a layered, subliminal quality to it is darned difficult but screenwriter David Magee (whose credits include Finding Neverland and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) does a superlative job, weaving in an underlying message of humanity, bonding and survival. He builds his characters slowly — the use of a narrator evokes the feeling of being told a fable and the fantastical quality of the story itself lends itself beautifully to this technique. And the amazing part is that the story lingers with you long after you have left the theatre.
Every screenwriter needs a ‘Life of Pi’ kind of film to watch and be inspired by. A film that reaffirms all the reasons that you wanted to be a screenwriter in the first place. Life of Pi has turned out to be one such film for me. I’d love to know which movies/books have inspired you on your writing journey and have left you feeling with a similar ‘wow factor’ or resonating with you at a deeper level.