Those of you who caught Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” would agree that it is an incredible visual experience. The story is simple enough. Pi Patel is the son of a zoo keeper who grows up in Pondicherry and falls in love with Anandi. However he is forced to leave her and his country behind when his family decides to move, along with many of the zoo animals, to Canada via the seas. The ship unfortunately gets wrecked, leaving Pi as the sole survivor on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan. How he survives the next 227 days until he makes it to the shores of Mexico is the fascinating story.
The Unreal Team, over a few round of drinks, wondered how the movie would have turned out had it been directed by one of our illustrious Bollywood directors.
Yash Chopra’s Life of Pi:
Pi Patel, played by Shah Rukh Khan, is the son of the zoo janitor (as against the zoo owner), but still charms Anandi into falling in love with him in Pondicherry. The two love-birds sing and dance several songs (with Anandi in hot pants and short skirts), before Anandi makes a complicated deal with Jesus Christ because of which she refuses to marry SRK. An angry SRK decides to spite Jesus by putting his life at risk, and takes out a lifeboat into the Pacific ocean with a tiger, hyena and an orangutan for company. But how much ever he tries, the tiger and the hyena simply wont eat him, and SRK survives for 10 years until he reaches mexico, where Anandi awaits him. Their misunderstanding gets resolved and the two live happily ever after.
Rohit Shetty’s Life of Pi:
Ajay Devgn plays Pi Patel, Arshad Warsi the tiger, Shreyas Talpade the hyena and Tushar Kapoor the mute orangutan. The four of them escape from Vasooli bhai on a lifeboat, and due to an explicable plot twist, end up in the Pacific. The four keep playing dumb pranks at each other, and bump into Kareena Kapoor, a female tiger, a female hyena and a male orangutan floating similarly on the pacific and pair up with them. Eventually all eight of them including Vasooli bhai, his goons, a few sharks and a blue whale, end up dancing to the beats of “Golmaal Golmaal everything’s gonna be golmaal” on and around the lifeboat.
Madhur Bhandarkar’s Life of Pi:
Pi Patel, the tiger, the hyena, the zebra and the orangutan lead a sophisticated life on the boat, partying every day and engaging in high-society chit-chat, until one day when the orangutan, Pi’s best friend, commits suicide. The trauma doesn’t end there for Pi who discovers that the zebra is gay, and that the Tiger has been secretly humping the hyena. The movie ends with Pi’s utter disillusionment with the animal kingdom.
Pooja Bhatt’s Life of Pi:
Pi Patel is an intelligence officer, and the tiger is a porn star. The hyena, orangutan and zebra all play spies, intelligence officials turned spies, or random villains. There’s also a deeply convoluted plot, but the audience doesn’t give a shit as they are distracted by the voluptuous curves of the tiger throughout the movie.
Abbas-Mustan’s Life of Pi:
The ship Pi and his family travel on, faces a storm like that in the Perfect Storm, and goes on to sink like the Titanic. Pi survives on the lifeboat like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, squabbling with his fellow occupants of the lifeboat like the chaps in Pirates of the Caribbean. The directors don’t spare Finding Nemo either and include a few scenes from that as well.
Ram Gopal Verma’s Life of Pi:
Pi Patel is the don of the seas, and part of his gang are the tiger, the hyena and the zebra. Pi, sporting a handlebar moustache, runs a tight gang, and the movie brings this out in ample detail through various close up and extra slo-mo shots including those of Pi’s intense stare, the hyena’s smirk, the tiger’s thighs and the orangutan’s arm. Around the middle of the film, Pi’s number 2, the tiger, decides to form its own gang, inexorably leading to a gang war. The protagonists go down in a blaze of bullets, but by then there’s no one left in the theatre to find out who survives. The film also features an item number by Urmila Matondkar on the lifeboat’s tarpaulin.
Editor: The author intended to write the versions of several other Indian directors. Unfortunately he did not have the good sense to keep RGV for the last, and shot himself while watching an RGV movie to get a feel of his film-making style. Readers are welcome to write their versions of the other directors’ storylines in the comments section.