After sharing intimate scenes with each other in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool and playing the role of a married couple in Mira Nair’s The Namesake, actors Tabu and Irrfan Khan will be seen in altogether reversed roles in Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi. The Academy Award-winning director has cast the duo as mother and son for his cinematic adaptation of Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel.
“Tabu is playing my mother in the film,” says Khan, who plays the older Pi Patel, putting to rest reports of them playing a couple in this film too. According to the book, Pi survives a shipwreck and ends up on a lifeboat with a Royal Bengal tiger for company. Khan adds laughing, “I am actually paired with a tiger this time.”On being asked to confirm the nature of her part, says, "Right now I’m not at liberty of speaking about the film since I’m bound by a contract." Delhi-based Suraj Sharma, a 17-year-old newcomer, is said to play the part of the younger Pi. Currently in Taiwan for the pre-production of the film, Khan informs, "I am going there for rehearsals, camera tests and to meet the director. We will start shooting in April."
Lee’s film will be shot in 3D and filmed in India and Taiwan. It is expected to release around mid-December 2012. A huge fan of Lee’s work, Khan on the other hand, can’t wait to begin shooting for the film: “Lee’s Lust, Caution (2007) haunts you for days. I have watched almost all his work, whether it is Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Taking Woodstock (2009) or Brokeback Mountain (2005). I love them.”
Talking about doing yet another film with co-actor Tabu, Khan says, “Whatever work I have done with her has been memorable for me and the audience. Being cast in an Ang Lee film together is the ultimate.” However, in this film both the actors will not share screen space at all. “We are cast in different portions,” Khan reveals. Having already carved a niche for himself inthe international film market, Khan now wishes the same for Tabu. “Her role in the film is very interesting. I hope she breaks into Hollywood in a larger way. When The Namesake released, the international audience was amazed by her performance,” says Khan.
What’s it about? Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel, Life of Pi, is about Piscine Molitor ‘Pi’ Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, who explores issues of spirituality from an early age. The story is divided into three parts. In the first, Pi, an adult, reminisces about his childhood.
In the second, post a shipwreck, he lands up with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, a hyena, a zebra, and an orangutan named Orange Juice in a small lifeboat. He survives for 227 days. The third part is a conversation between two officials from the Japanese maritime department. They seek to ascertain why the ship sank, so they interview Pi, but they do not believe his fantastical story.