Life of Pi Quotes: Sublimely Symbolic

(Total Quotes: 69)

Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by:
David Magee (screenplay)
Yann Martel (novel)
Suraj Sharma – Pi Patel
Irrfan Khan – Adult Pi Patel
Ayush Tandon – Pi Patel (11/12 Years)
Gautam Belur – Pi Patel (5 Years)
Adil Hussain – Santosh Patel
Tabu – Gita Patel
Ayan Khan – Ravi Patel (7 Years)
Mohd Abbas Khaleeli – Ravi Patel (13 / 14 Years)
Vibish Sivakumar – Ravi Patel (18/19 Years)
Rafe Spall – Writer
Gérard Depardieu – Cook
James Saito – Older Insurance Investigator
Jun Naito – Younger Insurance Investigator
Andrea Di Stefano – Priest
Shravanthi Sainath – Anandi
Elie Alouf – Mamaji
Padmini Ramachandran – Dance Master
T.M. Karthik – Science Teacher
Amarendran Ramanan – Indian History Teacher
Hari Mina Bala – Librarian
Bo-Chieh Wang – Buddhist Sailor
Ko Yi-Cheng – Tsimtsum Captain
Jian-wei Huang – Sailor
Ravi Natesan – Selvam


Not only has Ang Lee managed to create a stunningly crafted visual movie but he’s also successfully provided a truly captivating story. With little knowledge of the novel, on the face of it Life of Pi movie quotes serves up an engaging metaphor with a heartfelt message about living with faith when our will is being tested to its limits.

The story revolves around Piscine Molitor, who goes by the name Pi Patel, and he tells his remarkable story of being shipwrecked to a writer and how his family dies and he ends up being stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a life boat with Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, and it’s the story of how they survive together that creates the parable with the narrative focusing on the idea of survival and spirituality.

Verdict: This is one of those movies where the ending and it’s message can be interpreted in multiple ways and has been left entirely up to the viewer’s perception. Whether or not you believe it or can relate to it is up to you, but one thing is guaranteed; it will give rise to many interesting discussions.

Life of Pi Quotes Page  1   2   THE NOVEL


[first lines; a writer interviews adult Pi at his home as Pi prepares lunch in the kitchen]
Writer: So, you were raised in a zoo?
Adult Pi Patel: Born and raised In Pondicherry, in what was the French part of India. My father owned the zoo. And I was delivered on short notice by a herpetologist, who was there to check on the Bengal Monitor Lizard. Mother and I were both healthy, but the poor lizard escaped, and was trampled by fighting cassowary. The way of Karma, huh? The way of God.
Writer: That’s quite a story. I’d assumed your father was a mathematician, because of your name.
Adult Pi Patel: No, far from it, I was named after a swimming pool.
Writer: There was a swimming pool named ‘Pi’?
Adult Pi Patel: You see, my uncle Francis was born with too much water in his lungs. They say the doctor swung Francis around by the ankles, to clear the water out. And that’s what gave him his huge chest and skinny legs, that made him such a great swimmer.


Writer: Is Francis actually your uncle, he said he was friends with your father?
Adult Pi Patel: Oh, he’s my honorary uncle. I call him ‘Mamaji’. My father’s best friend, my swimming guru. I trained with him three times a week at the Ashram. His lessons would save my life in the end.
[we see flashback of Pi at age 5 surfacing from a pool and looking up at Mamaji who scoops him out of the water and carries him]
Mamaji: A mouthful of water will not harm you, but panic will. And remember to breathe now, don’t hold your breath. Good boy.
[suddenly Mamaji tosses Pi back into the swimming pool]


[back at Pi’s home as he prepares lunch form himself and the writer]
Adult Pi Patel: I hope you don’t mind vegetarian.
Writer: No, no. Not at all. And your name?
Adult Pi Patel: Huh?
Writer: You were going to tell me how you got your name, I think.
Adult Pi Patel: Oh, yes! I got it from something Mamaji once told my father. You see, most travelers collect postcards or tea cups on their journeys, but not Mamaji. Mamaji collects swimming pools. He swims in every pool he comes upon.


[flashback to Mamaji admiring the Piscine Molitor, a pool in Paris]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] One day, Mamaji said to my father, that of all the pools in the world, the most beautiful was a public pool in Paris. That the water there was so clear, you could make your morning coffee with it. That a single swim there changed his
[we see Mamaji diving into the clear water of the pool]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] Before I was born, he said; ‘If you want your son to have a clean soul, you must take him one day to swim in the Piscine Molitor.’ I never understood why my father took this so much to heart, but he did, and I was named ‘Piscine Molitor Patel’.


[we see Pi at age 11 reading a book school as the other kids play]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] Imagine me trying to explain that name. I barely made it to the age of eleven before…
[a boy calls up to Pi from the schoolyard below]
Bully #1: Hey, Piscine! Are you pissing right now?
[Pi looks down and sees a group of boys gathered watching him and laughing]
Bully #2: Look at him, he is pissing!
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] With one word, my name went from an elegant French swimming pool to a stinking Indian latrine. I was ‘pissing’ everywhere.
[as Pi tries to play in the schoolyard the other boys make fun of him]
Bully#3: No pissing in the schoolyard!


Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] Even the teacher started doing it. Not deliberately, of course.
[we see Pi sitting in his science class]
Science Teacher: So then, what might occur if you release gas too quickly? Pissing?
[Pi looks mortified as he stands to answer]
Bully#4: He said pissing, guys. Pissing!
[the other kids start laughing and making fun]
Science Teacher: That’s enough! Order! Order!


Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] When we returned the next year for our first day of school, I was prepared.
[we see Pi in history class as the teacher does the roll call]
Boy: Present, sir!
Indian History Teacher: Piscine Patel.
[Pi stands and walks to the front of class]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Good Morning. I am Piscine Molitor Patel. Known to all as…
[he turns and writes ‘Pi’ on the blackboard]
Pi Patel (12 Years): ‘Pi’. The sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet.
[he writes the symbol for ‘Pi’ on the blackboard]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Which is also used in mathematics to represent the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter. An irrational number of infinite length, usually rounded to three digits, as 3.14.
[he writes 3.14 on the board then faces the classes and points to the word ‘Pi’]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Pi.
[the whole class is quite]
Indian History Teacher: Very impressive, Pi. Now sit down.
[Pi walks back to his seat, the teacher continues doing the roll call]
Indian History Teacher: R. Velusami?
R. Velusami: Present, sir.


Writer: [voice over] And from then on, you were Pi?
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] Well no, not quite.
[as Pi returns to his seat, the boy sitting behind him leans forward and whispers Pi]
Bully #2: Nice try, Pissing.
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] But I still had the whole day ahead of me. French class was next.


[we see Pi repeating his introduction in his French class]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Je m’appelle Piscine Molitor Patel. Dit ‘Pi’.
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] Then geography.
[Pi repeats his introduction to his geography class which is being held in the schoolyard]
Pi Patel (12 Years): These are the first twenty decimal places of Pi.
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] My last class of the day was mathematics.
[we see all the school kids running to form a crowd outside Pi’s mathematics class, where Pi is writing numbers on the blackboard with the other kids calling out the numbers]
All the Students: 4! 3! 7! 5! 8! 5! 8! 5! 8!
[the school librarian compares Pi’s writing to the math book]
Librarian: It’s right! He’s really doing this!
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] By the end of that day, I was Pi Patel, school legend.


[back in Adult Pi’s kitchen the writer laughs after hearing Pi’s story]
Writer: Mamaji tells me you’re a legend among sailors, too. Out there, all alone.
Adult Pi Patel: Oh, I don’t even know how to sail. And I wasn’t alone out there, Richard Parker was with me.
Writer: Richard Parker? Mamaji didn’t tell me everything, he just said I should look you up when I got back to Montreal.
Adult Pi Patel: So what were you doing in Pondicherry?
Writer: Writing a novel.
Adult Pi Patel: By the way, I enjoyed your first book. So this new one, is it set in India?
Writer: No, Portugal, actually. But it’s cheaper living in India.
Adult Pi Patel: Ah. Well, I look forward to reading it.
Writer: You can’t. I threw it out. Two years trying to bring this thing to life, and then one day it sputtered, coughed and died.
Adult Pi Patel: Oh, I’m sorry.


Writer: So I was, uh…sitting in this coffee house in Pondicherry one afternoon, mourning my loss, when this old man at the table next to me, struck up a conversation.
Adult Pi Patel: Yeah, Mamaji he does that.
Writer: When I told him my abandoned book, he said:
[he starts imitating Mamaji’s voice]
Writer: ‘So, a Canadian who’s come to French India in search for a story. Well, my friend, I know an Indian in French Canada with the most incredible story to tell. It must be fate that the two of you should meet.’
[they take their food to the dining table and sit]
Adult Pi Patel: Well, I haven’t spoken about Richard Parker in so many years. So what has, uh…Mamaji already told you?
Writer: He said you had a story that would make me believe in God.
[Pi laughs]
Adult Pi Patel: He would say that about a nice meal. As for God, I can only tell you my story. You’ll decide for yourself what you believe.
Writer: Fair enough.
Adult Pi Patel: Let’s see then. Where to begin?


[as adult Pi begins his story, we see flashback to streets of Pondicherry]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] Pondicherry is the French Riviera of India. In the streets closest to the ocean, you might think you were in the south of France. A few blocks inland, there’s a canal; just beyond that is Indian Pondicherry. And the Muslim quarter is just to the west. When the French handed Pondicherry back to us in 1954, the town decided that some sort of commemoration was in order. My father was a clever businessman, he came up with one. He ran a hotel, and he got the idea to open a zoo in the local botanical gardens instead. As it also happened, my mother was a botanist in the gardens.
[we see the zoo that his father and mother ran]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] They met, married, and a year later my brother Ravi was born. I came two years after that.


[back to the present as Pi and the writer begin to eat lunch]
Writer: It sounds magical. Growing up in…
[the writer stops as he looks at Pi who’s eyes are closed in prayer]
Adult Pi Patel: Amen. Yeah, let’s eat.
Writer: I didn’t know Hindus said Amen.
Adult Pi Patel: Catholic Hindus do.
Writer: Catholic Hindus?
Adult Pi Patel: We get to feel guilty before hundreds of Gods, instead of just one.
[the writer laughs]
Writer: But you’re a Hindu first?
Adult Pi Patel: None of us knows God until someone introduces us. I was first introduced to God as a Hindu. There are 33 million Gods in the Hindu religion. How can I not come to know a few of them?


Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] I met Krishna first.
[flashback to young Pi and Ravi watching their mother kneeling before their home and using rice powder to draw a Kolem pattern which is meant to bring prosperity to the home]
Gita Patel: [subtitled] Yashoda once accused baby Krishna of eating dirt. ‘Tut, tut, you naughty boy, you shouldn’t do that.’
[then in young Pi’s bedroom as his mother tell him and Ravi the story in bed]life-of-pi-4
Pi Patel (5 Years): [subtitled] But he didn’t!
Gita Patel: [subtitled] That’s what he told her. ‘I didn’t eat dirt!’ ‘Yashoda said, ‘No? Well, then open your mouth.’ So Krishna opened his mouth. And what do you think Yashoda saw?
Pi Patel (5 Years): [subtitled] What?
Gita Patel: [subtitled] She saw in Krishna’s mouth the whole entire universe.


[we see young Pi under the blanket in his bed reading a Hindu comic book telling the story of Krishna]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] The Gods were my superheroes, growing up. Hanuman, the monkey God, lifting an entire mountain to save his friend, Lakshmana. Ganesh, the elephant headed, risking his life to defend the honor of his mother, Parvati. Vishnu, the supreme soul, the source of all things. Vishnu sleeps, floating on the shoreless cosmic ocean, and we are the stuff of his dreaming.


[we see young Pi and his family sitting among a crowd for a religious tank ceremony]
Santosh Patel: Spectacle. Don’t let the stories and pretty lies fool you, boys. Religion is darkness.
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] My dear Appa believed himself part of the new India. As a child, he’d had polio. He used to lie in bed wracked with pain, wondering where God was. In the end, God didn’t save him, Western medicine did.
[we see as young Pi watches his mother watching the ceremony lost in thought]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] My Amma went to college and thought our family was part of the new India as well, until her parents cut her off because they thought she was marrying beneath her. Our religion was the only link she had to her past.


Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] I met Christ in the mountains when I was 12. We were visiting relatives, tea growers in Munnar. It was our third day there, Ravi and I were terribly bored.
[flashback to young Pi and Ravi on a rocky mountaintop]
Ravi Patel (14 Years): Challenge. I’ll give you two rupees. Run into that church, and drink the holy water.
[Pi looks down at the church and then we see him enter inside, finds the holy water and drinks from it, he turns and looks around the church when he gets interrupted by a priest]
Priest: You must be thirsty.
[the priest walks up to Pi carrying a glass of water]
Priest: Here, I brought you this.
[awkwardly Pi takes the glass and drinks]



[Pi looks up and points to a painting of Christ being placed on a cross]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Why would a God do that? Why would he send his own son to suffer for the sins of ordinary people?
Priest: Because he loves us. God made himself approachable to us, human, so we could understand him. We can’t understand God in all his perfection, but we can understand God’s son and his suffering as we would a brother’s.
[back to the present with adult Pi and the writer in Pi’s dining room]
Adult Pi Patel: That made no sense. Sacrificing the innocent to atone for the sins of the guilty? What kind of love is that? But this son, I couldn’t get him out of my head.


[we see young Pi going back to the church and questioning the priest]
Pi Patel (12 Years): If God is so perfect, and we are not, why would he want to create all this? Why does he need us at all?
Priest: All you have to know is that he loves us. God so loved his world that he gave his only son.
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] The longer I listened to the priest, the more I came to like the son of God.
[we see Pi kneeling his room and praying]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Thank you Vishnu, for introducing me to Christ.
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] I came to faith through Hinduism, and I found God’s love through Christ, but God wasn’t finished with me yet.
[Pi walks through the Muslim Quarter as the call to prayer plays out over a loudspeaker affixed to the nearby mosque, Pi watches as the people pray]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] God works in mysterious ways. And so it was he introduced himself again, this time by the name of Allah.


[we see young Pi in his home kneeling on a prayer mat, repeating a prayer, as the Muslim’s in the mosque had done]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] My Arabic was never very good, but the sound and feel of the words brought me closer to God. In performing ‘Salah’, the ground I touched became holy ground, and I found a feeling of serenity and brotherhood.
[later young Pi and his family are sat having dinner, as the other begin to eat, Pi has closed his eyes in prayer]
Santosh Patel: This lamb is exquisite, it’s the best dish on the table. You’re all missing out. You only need to convert to three more religions, Piscine, and you’ll spend your life on holiday.
[Ravi laughs]


Ravi Patel (14 Years): Are you going to Mecca this year, Swami Jesus? Or to Rome for your coronation as Pope Pi-us?
Gita Patel: You stay out of this, Ravi. Just as you like cricket, Pi has his own interests.
Santosh Patel: No, Gita. Ravi has a point, you know? You cannot follow three different religions at the same time, Piscine.
Pi Patel (12 Years): Why not?
Santosh Patel: Because, believing in everything at the same time is the same as not believing in anything at all.
Gita Patel: He’s young, Santosh. He’s still finding his way.
Santosh Patel: And how can he find his way, if he does not choose a path?


[to Pi]
Santosh Patel: Listen, instead of leaping from one religion to the next, why not start with reason? In a few hundred years, science has taken us farther in understanding the universe, than religion has in ten thousand.
Gita Patel: That is true. Your father is right. Science can teach us more about what is out there, but not what is in here.
[she places her hand on her heart]
Santosh Patel: Yeah. Some eat meat, some eat vegetable. I do not expect us to all to agree about everything. But I’d much rather have you believe in something I don’t agree with than to accept everything blindly. And that begins with thinking rationally. Do you understand?
[Pi nods]
Santosh Patel: Good.
[there’s a moment’s pause]
Pi Patel (12 Years): I would like to be baptized.
[Ravi laughs and Gita and Santosh look at each other smiling]


[back to present day, adult Pi and the writer leave Pi’s house and take a walk]
Writer: So, you’re a Christian and a Muslim?
Adult Pi Patel: And an Hindu, of course.
Writer: And a Jew, I suppose?
Adult Pi Patel: Well, I do teach the course on the Kabbalah at the University. And why not? Faith is a house with many rooms.
Writer: But no room for doubt?
Adult Pi Patel: Oh, plenty. On every floor. Doubt is useful. It keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it has been tested.
[we see young Pi and Ravi enter the tiger’s feeding area]


Ravi Patel (14 Years): Where’s Selvam? We shouldn’t be in here without him.
Pi Patel (12 Years): Stop worrying. I have seen him do this a thousand times. I want to meet our new tiger.
[Pi drops some meat on the floor by the bars]
Ravi Patel (14 Years): Pi!
[he starts opening the enclosure for the tiger to come through]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Hello? Richard Parker?
[back to present day as adult Pi and the writer continue walking]
Writer: A Tiger? Richard Parker was a tiger?
Adult Pi Patel: Yeah, he got this name through a clerical error. A hunter caught him drinking from a stream when he was a cub and named him Thirsty. When Thirsty got too big, the hunter sold him to our zoo, but the names got switched on the paperwork. The hunter was listed as Thirsty and the tiger was called Richard Parker. We laughed about it and the name stuck.


[back in the tiger feeding area, young Pi and Ravi wait for the tiger to emerge]
Ravi Patel (14 Years): Let’s go. Before we get into trouble.
Pi Patel (12 Years): I want to see him close up.
Ravi Patel (14 Years): You’re not a zookeeper. Come on!
[suddenly the tiger appears at the other end and Ravi runs off, Pi holds out the piece of meat through the bars]
Pi Patel (12 Years): Touch it Richard Parker. It’s for you.
[the tiger walks slowly towards Pi, as he reaches the bars with Pi holding out the meat]


[the tiger regards Pi with curiosity and looks at the meat in his hand, as he’s about to take the meat, Pi’s father shouts from behind]
Santosh Patel: No!
[this startles the tiger and Pi, who yanks his hand back, the tiger hisses and runs back into his enclosure, Pi’s father spins Pi around and shout at him]
Santosh Patel: What are you thinking?! Are you out of your mind? Who gave you permission to come back here? You have just ignored everything I’ve ever taught you!
Pi Patel (12 Years): I…I just wanted to say Hello to him.
Santosh Patel: You think that tiger is your friend. He’s an animal, not a playmate!
Pi Patel (12 Years): Animals have souls. I have seen it in their eyes.
[Santosh turns to Ravi]
Santosh Patel: Find Selvam.


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Total Quotes: 69



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