Cultural Arts Review Life of Pi

Posted on March 4, 2013 by

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This past November the film Life of Pi was released in the United States. The film focused on the spiritual, mental, and physical journey of a teenager named Piscine Molitor Patel who is played by the actor Suraj Sharma. In the film, Piscine goes by the name Pi because of the taunting that he receives for his name in school. As a child Pi is brought up as a Hindu, however as he gets older he seeks out other religions to practice. He first discovers Christianity, he believed that the Hindu god Vishnu has brought him to Christianity in the film he says, “No one knows God until they are introduced to him.” Pi is fascinated yet puzzled on how Christianity works, he couldn’t understand why God would sacrifice his only son for mankind. When Pi gets older he practices Islam, while he practiced he claimed feeling a closeness to the religion. During this time he still was involved with hindu practices. At one point he is drummer for a girl dancing group that used dance to express their love of god.

As a teenager Pi finds out his family is moving away from India and going to Canada with their zoo animals. They pack up and set to sea on a cargo ship. During the trip a severe thunderstorm capsizes the boat, leaving Pi and the family Bengal tiger on a life boat together. Throughout the rest of the film Pi believes that every event that occurs in the working of Vishnu. After being at sea for several days, Pi is weak and famished allows god to “take him.” The next day he comes across a mangrove island of meerkats. Pi was delighted about finally getting on land and having something to eat, however he notices that the island is poisonous and needs to get off. After 227 days he eventually gets to the gulf of Mexico where people find him and treat him but no one believes his story about what happened.

One can see in the film that even though Pi’s main religion is Hinduism he is still able to seek out and practice other religions. I believe Hinduism is a religion that allows people to practice it among other religions. When Pi reaches adulthood we discover that he practices a hybrid of Hinduism and Christianity. In the beginning of the film he says “Amen” after his prayer and then explains that he is a Christian Hindu.  I believe that this film gave Hinduism another perspective that people can relate to. Some can relate to singing or dancing to a please a god, or praying to god for support. I think this film created a connection that Hinduism has some overlapping traditions with other religions that some practice.

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Posted in: Hinduism, Islam