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‘Life Of Pi’ Was Secretly A Feminist Movie And We Have Receipts!

November 21, 2022 | by Mehak Walia
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Ang Lee’s film Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name, starring Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Tabu, Gautam Belur, and Adil Hussain, is a stunning masterpiece. I remember back in 2012 when I watched it for the first time, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen because I didn’t want to miss a single moment of this magical adventure. This movie gave me a sense of the kind of person I wanted to be. I wanted to be like Pi Patel, to not lose my humanity no matter the situation and to be strong enough to strive for success. The movie also won my heart with its depiction of humanity and inhumanity even in animals. It is a beautiful story of adventure and self-discovery and as the movie turns 10, it’s time to look back, dig in deep and learn more about it. 

This exceptional story of how a tiger and a boy survive together on a lifeboat, extraordinarily depicts how the boy learns to tame the tiger, the tiger learns to give space to the boy, and how they are both dependent on each other to survive for 227 days stranded in the vast ocean. However, if we go beyond the larger theme on the surface and look at it from a feminist point of view, we find that this movie is an appreciation of the role of women in our lives.

Even though the movie doesn’t have many female characters, it accords some much-needed respect to mothers and shows how Pi Patel grows up into a fabulous man who respects all women including his fabulous wife. This feminist perspective is usually ignored because it is in the background and therefore not many people pay attention but it’s about time we talk about it, isn’t it? 

One major female character in the movie is Pi’s mother who is portrayed as a conventional Indian housewife from the 1990s, she does the domestic chores and takes care of Pi. But she is also the one who ends up sacrificing her own life to protect her child, according to Pi her mother is his ultimate saviour and protector which was traditionally known as the role of the man. She shatters the boxes created by society and dares to do whatever it takes to protect her son. Come on, there’s nothing stronger than that.

Life of Pi breaks the conventional idea that women are delicate and portrays them as strong mothers. Another strong mother in the movie who will do anything to save her child is Orange Juice, she is the orangutan on the boat. Pi relates Orange Juice to his mother because she reminded him of her. However, she also sacrifices herself like his mother.

But, the most feminist character in the movie is our protagonist himself. Pi Patel remembers the struggles of his mother, gives her the due respect that she deserves and doesn’t forget or belittle her sacrifice. He even adores and gives respect to Orange Juice for being the strong female presence that she was. Most of all, in the movie we see the kind of person Pi grows up to be. A real man who respects his wife and cares for his children, which is very different from the patriarchal idea of a man he grew up seeing. Pi isn’t like his father and he breaks the male-dominant chain and creates a beautiful and feminist presence for himself. Isn’t that beautiful? 

Also Read: Kangana Ranaut Says Tabu Saved The Hindi Film Industry. She’s Definitely Brilliant But Isn’t This A Bit Of An Exaggeration?

So, there are no doubts about the fact that Life of Pi is genuinely a spectacular film which was not only a treat to watch but, also makes you wonder about your own life, teaches you how to be a true feminist and of course, helps you on the path of your self-discovery. Well, now I desperately want to go and rewatch the movie, are you in? 

Image Source: Disney+ Hotstar

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