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NEW DELHI – Following its premiere at the 43rd International Film Festival of India in Goa, Life of Pi opened to mostly positive reviews here.
Joint venture network CNN-IBN film critic Rajeev Masand gave the Ang Lee film a three-and-a-half star rating but also pointed out a flaw: “Lee gives Life of Pi an epic, sweeping feel, but can’t seem to smoothly transpose the book’s overarching themes of spirituality and faith to the screen.”
A similar sentiment was echoed by leading newspaper Indian Express critic Shubhra Gupta who also gave it three-and-a-half stars, “What stops it from being completely spectacular is the director’s faltering with the cultural specificities of being Indian. So what you get is a not-so-satisfactory beginning, a gorgeous middle, and a too-sedate ending.”
The Hindustan Times‘ Rashid Irani awarded the film a four-star rating, “A tale full of sound, fury and state-of-the-art special effects, Life Of Pi is a one-of-a-kind dazzler. Oscars ahoy!”
Praise for the film’s India locales and especially 16-year-old Delhi-based newcomer Suraj Sharma‘s performance was also unanimous with leading newsmagazine India Today’s Vinayak Chakravorty four star review stating: “That Lee’s vision of the story will be splendid becomes obvious in the opening frames, as the camera laps up scenic Pondicherry. Suraj Sharma gets the mix of grit and misery just right for his role. His act gives this film its beautiful emotional core. ”
South India-based The Hindu newspaper’s Sudhish Kamath, wrote, “Young Suraj Sharma couldn’t have asked for a better debut and performs like a veteran. This is a performance that will instantly make people draw comparisons with Tom Hanks in Castaway and Suraj wouldn’t fare any less in the contest. ”
Beyond the critics, Life of Pi has also found favor with some leading Bollywood personalities who tweeted their views on the film.
“Life Of Pi – must watch!! Its message will have multiple interpretations and will be open to post viewing analysis. That’s the fun of it,” director Karan Johar posted on his Twitter account.
“Go see Life Of Pi. You will come home elated. No movie has done that to me for a long time,” tweeted Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur who awarded the film “four-and-a-half wows”. But he also explained why he didn’t give it a five-star rating, “I wish though Hollywood did not treat us like caricatures of ourselves as the film did in its first 30 minutes.”
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