Normally when it comes to books adapted into movies - my policy is to read the book first (I try to keep it very close to the movie release) and then watch the movie. But at times it happens the other way round too when I have no idea if they are actually based on a book. Same happened with much acclaimed and loved "Life of Pi" as soon as I saw the movie and came out of theater - I so much wanted to read the book as we were too mesmerized by Priscine Molitor Patel's heart touching and heart warming story of tragedy as well as superb survival. The movie is so beautifully shot and well made - I am sure you will agree if you have seen it that it was totally a out of this world experience and with one of my all time favorite "Irfan Khan" as adult Pi narrating the story - it was simply too good. Unfortunately I just couldn't get the book immediately then till I saw it last month in a book sale at a mouthwatering and wallet shattering price of 89/- - just grabbed it and gorged on the beauty of it. I was warned by my friends who had their own stories to tell about the book that they finished it in flat one sitting to some in 24 hrs to some in 36 hours. I fortunately was able to stretch it to two weeks, thanks to my unplanned travels and some important books which kept coming in between - but I totally loved it. Also the longer I was able to stretch it the longer it made me smile and cheer Pi to fight for his life and come out unscathed. It is a beautiful story barring the ending which is a little over the top as well as over stretched but it doesn't take anything away from it.
The book is the terrific account of Piscine Molitor Patel, a (hilarious) teenager who is confused about his religion and follows Hinduism, Islam and even Christianity simultaneously whereas his father owns a zoo in Pondicherry. His life from his point of view is too good, hilarious at times and questioning too, totally loved the way Yann Martel has written it. His opinion on middle aged Pi, his life in Canada after the tragedy, their connection and the flash back of when and how it all happened. Pi has a story to tell and a damn good at that about almost everything, how is he named "Pi", to his schooling, his parents, about his brother Ravi, upbringing with a zoo at home and finally the journey that they take from India to Canada on a Japanese Cargo ship which sinks to the bottom of Pacific Ocean - how he survives with a Royal Bengal Tiger, a Hyena and a Orang-utan in a life boat for seven months is the book all about. Its a very touching account from the perspective of a kid and I was all emotional by the way it ends - what a heart break for the poor kid. Such a great inspiring story which at no points make you feel that its a work of fiction - totally convincing that you actually start believing that it must have happened.
If you have read the book and seen the movie - do let me know which one you liked more. I will personally say they are a great compliment to each other - which in today's time is nothing short of a miracle. I am so much looking forward to the movie again - a total visual delight. The book is a must must read for all - do not miss it at any cost, if you haven't read so far.