LIFE OF PI
Based on the original novel by
1 EXT. PONDICHERRY ZOO, INDIA, 1961 - DAY 1
CREDITS OVER: a magical fairy tale world in collage - images
of fantastic creatures striped and spotted, hoofed and
Goats and warthogs mingle in an open field; a baby giraffe
tries to reach leaves over a fence; rhinos roll happily in
rich red mud, looking like giant muddy boulders, while
nearby, black and white Malayan tapirs cool themselves in
Exotic monkeys with comical faces cling lovingly to one
another, swing from trees, climb over one another, prance and
screech; a probiscus monkey with a 'Jimmy Durante' nose
pointing out through the plane of the screen. Flamingoes
strut about in the aviary, their pink feathers reflected in
A sloth droops lazily from a tree branch, unfazed, while a
nearby hummingbird zips manically from flower to flower like
... the Pondicherry zoo is a children's paradise nestled in a
You were raised in a zoo?
3 EXT. PONDICHERRY ZOO, INDIA, 1961 - DAY 3
There's a flurry of activity in the animal clinic behind a
monitor lizard that wanders the main path. ZOO WORKERS gather
in the doorway, talking excitedly.
No one notices the lizard.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
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.
The zoo owner (FATHER - late 20s) hurries down the path as
quickly as his heavy leg brace will allow and hurries into
the animal clinic.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Mother and I were both healthy...
The lizard crawls away.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
but the poor lizard escaped and was
trampled by a frightened
5 INT. PI'S HOME, KITCHEN, MONTREAL - DAY 5
A modest row house. There is a French influence to the decor,
along with books and artwork that celebrate the spiritual.
PI PATEL (50 - intelligent, Indo-Canadian) cooks an Indian
meal. The often-skeptical WRITER (late 30s, a disheveled
French Canadian), watches Pi.
The way of karma; the way of God.
I assumed your father was a
mathematician - because of your
Oh, far from it. I was named after
a swimming pool.
There's a swimming pool named 'Pi?'
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 the huge chest and skinny
legs that made him such a great
Is Francis actually your uncle? He
said he was friends with your
I call him 'Mamaji,' my 'honorary
uncle' - my father's best friend,
my swimming guru.
6 EXT. ASHRAM SWIMMING POOL, PONDICHERRY, 1966 - DAY 6
ADULT PI (V.O.)
I trained with him three times a
week at the ashram. His lessons
would save my life in the end...
A young Indian boy - PI AT AGE FIVE - surfaces from a pool,
gasping. He looks up at the large chest and skinny legs of
Mamaji (late 30s). Mamaji reaches down to scoop Pi out of the
A mouthful of water will not harm
you - but panic will.
Mamaji carries Pi back over to the water's edge.
Remember to breathe. Don't hold
your breath. Good boy.
Mamaji unceremoniously tosses Pi back in.
7 INT. PI'S HOME, KITCHEN, MONTREAL - DAY 7
I hope you don't mind vegetarian.
No, not at all... And your name?
You - you were going to tell me how
you got your name, I think.
I got it from something Mamaji once
told my father. Most travelers
collect postcards or teacups on
their journeys - but not Mamaji.
Mamaji collects swimming pools.
ADULT PI (CONT'D)
He swims in every pool he comes
8 EXT. THE PISCINE MOLITOR, PARIS, 1959 - DAY 8
Mamaji stands admiring the Piscine Molitor, a pool of
sparkling magnificence. Attractive French men and women in
bathing suits, the setting a celebration of idealized beauty.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
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 life.
Mamaji dives into the crystal clear water - and we follow,
taking in the divine miracle of his underwater journey across
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Before I was born, he said to my
father, "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
9 INT. PI'S HOME, MONTREAL - DAY 9
... but he did, and I was named
"Piscine Molitor Patel."
10 EXT. PI'S PRIMARY SCHOOL, 1972 - DAY 10
PI (AGE 11) leans against the railing of a balcony, reading
"L'Ile Mysterieuse (The Mysterious Island)" by Jules Verne.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Imagine me trying to explain that
name to my schoolmates. I barely
made it to the age of eleven
A boy (BULLY #1) calls up to him from the courtyard below.
Pi glances down, all the boys in the courtyard watching him.
BULLY #1 (CONT'D)
Are you Pissing right now?
Pi freezes. The other boys laugh uncontrollably.
Look at him he's Pissing!
ADULT PI (VO)
With one word my name went from an
elegant French swimming pool to a
stinking Indian latrine. I was
11 I/E. SCHOOLYARD, 1972 - DAY 11
BOYS in school uniform kick a ball. Pi attempts to join.
Bully #2 intercepts the pass.
No Pissing in the schoolyard!
12 INT. SCIENCE CLASS, 1972 - DAY 12
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Even the teachers started doing it -
not deliberately, of course...
So then - what might occur if we
release gas too quickly? Pissing?
Pi is aghast. Several students splutter and howl, whispering
the slip to others. Laughter ripples around the room, all
eyes on Pi.
He said Pissing!
That's enough - order!
ADULT PI (V.O.)
When we returned the next year for
our first day of school, I was
SC. 13 INT. INDIAN HISTORY CLASS, 1973 - DAY 13
Class is held in a large open room. Roll call.
PI - AGE 12, rises, crosses to the front.
PI (AT 12)
Good morning. I am Piscine Molitor
Patel, known to all as...
(He writes "PI" on the
... "Pi," the sixteenth letter of
the Greek alphabet...
Pi writes , then quickly charts out a general notion of the
concept on the chalkboard.
... 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...
(He writes "3.14.")
Pi underlines his name, faces the class.
Very impressive, Pi. Now sit down.
And from then on you were Pi?
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Well, no. Not quite ...
As Pi returns to his seat, Bully #2 leans forward,
Nice try, Pissing.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
But I still had the whole day ahead
of me. French Class was next...
14 INT. FRENCH CLASS, 1973 - DAY 14
Pi repeats his act in French, 3.14159265 on the board.
Je m'appelle Piscine Molitor Patel -
ADULT PI (V.O.)
15 EXT. GEOGRAPHY CLASS, 1973 - DAY 15
Class is held out of doors in a courtyard. Pi, at a portable
chalkboard, writes and says: 3.14159265358979323846.
These are the first twenty decimal
places of Pi.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
My last class of the day was
16 INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY, 1973 - DAY 16
A LIBRARIAN runs down the hall, a huge book tucked under his
arm, followed by dozens of students. He reaches Pi's class,
pushes his way through the crowd.
Slowly, Slowly! Slowly, Slowly!
17 INT. MATH CLASS, 1973 - CONTINUOUS 17
Close on Pi writing digits. Pull back - the entire chalkboard
is filled with numbers. All watching are stunned. The
librarian compares Pi's writing to the math book.
It is right... He's really doing
Students clap and cheer - even the bullies. Several chant
along with him as he writes:
1! 4! 9! 3! 1! PI! PI! PI!
ADULT PI (VO)
By the end of that day, I was Pi
Patel, school legend.
18 INT. PI'S KITCHEN - DAY 18
The writer laughs, then ventures onto a new topic.
Mamaji tells me you're a legend
among sailors, too. Out there all
I don't even know how to sail. And
I wasn't alone out there. Richard
Parker was with me.
Richard Parker...? Mamaji didn't
tell me everything. He just said I
should look you up when I got back
So what were you doing in
Writing a novel.
By the way, I enjoyed your first
book. The new one, is it set in
No, Portugal, actually. But it's
cheaper living in India.
Ah. Well, I look forward to reading
You can't. I threw it out. Two
years trying to bring it to life,
and then one day it sputtered,
coughed, and died.
(Shrugs, making light of
I was in a coffee house in
Pondicherry one afternoon, mourning
my loss, when this old man at the
next table struck up a
Yeah, Mamaji. He does that.
When I told him about my abandoned
book, he said:
"So... a Canadian who's come to
French India in search of a story.
Well, my friend, I know an Indian
in French Canada who has the most
incredible story to tell. It must
be fate that the two of you should
I haven't spoken about Richard
Parker in so many years... What has
Mamaji already told you?
He said you had a story that would
make me believe in God.
He would say that about a nice
meal. As for God, I can only tell
you my story; you will decide for
yourself what you believe.
Let's see, then - where to begin?
CUT TO: MONTAGE
19 EXT. PONDICHERRY, SHORELINE 1954 - DAY 19
- The SHORELINE - Bicycles and pedestrians; policemen in
round, flat-top French hats.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Pondicherry is the "French Riviera
of India." In the streets closest
to the ocean, you might think you
were in the South of France.
20 EXT. ASHRAM STREET, 1954 - DAY 20
- Grey ASHRAM buildings, which give way to images of...
21 EXT. PONDICHERRY CANAL, 1954 - DAY 21
- The CANAL, and just beyond it, INDIAN PONDI.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
A few blocks inland, there's a
canal; just beyond that is Indian
SC. 22 EXT. PONDICHERRY MUSLIM QUARTER, 1954 - DAY 22
- The MUSLIM QUARTER, women in head scarves pass men baking
flatbread over coals, the mosque in the background.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
And the Muslim Quarter is just to
18 INT. PI'S HOME - CONTINUED 18
When the French handed Pondicherry
back to us in 1954, the town
decided that some sort of
commemoration was in order.
25 EXT. ZOO ENTRANCE, 1955 - DAY 25
The sign on the gate reads: "JARDIN BOTANIQUE DE
ADULT PI (V.O.)
My father, who was a clever
businessman, came up with one.
ADULT PI (V.O.) (CONT'D)
He ran a hotel, and he got the idea
to open a zoo in the local
Botanical Gardens instead.
Father oversees a SIGN PAINTER as the painter who adds the
words 'AND ZOO' to the sign.
26 EXT. THE NURSERY - CONTINUOUS 26
WOMEN WORKERS plant and dig in the Botanical Gardens nursery.
As MOTHER (refined - 20's) passes by, she admonishes a worker
who pulls up a sapling with too much force.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
As it also happened, my mother was
a botanist in the Gardens. They
met, married, and a year later my
brother Ravi was born. I came two
years after that.
27 INT. PI'S HOME, OUTER ROOM, MONTREAL - DAY 27
It sounds magical, growing up in-
The Writer stops, realizing that Pi's eyes are closed in
prayer. The Writer watches in awkward silence, his head
Amen. Let's eat.
I didn't know Hindus said 'amen.'
(As he serves food:)
Catholic Hindus do.
We get to feel guilty before
hundreds of gods instead of just
But you're a Hindu first?
None of us knows God until someone
introduces us. I was first
introduced to God as a Hindu. There
are 330 million gods in the Hindu
religion - how can I not come to
know a few of them?
28 EXT. OUTSIDE THE PATEL HOME, 1966 - NIGHT 28
YOUNG PI (5) and Ravi listen to Mother quietly singing a
gentle tune as she kneels before their home, using rice
powder to draw a Kolam pattern - a geometric design meant to
bring the home prosperity.
I met Krishna first...
MOTHER (V.O., IN TAMIL)
Yashoda once accused baby Krishna
of eating dirt: "Tut, tut, you
naughty boy - you shouldn't do
29 INT. PI'S BEDROOM, 1966 - NIGHT 29
It is raining outside. Pan from the window; Mother lies in
bed with Pi as they continue sharing this story for the
thousandth time. Mother's voice plays over (Note: they speak
in Tamil throughout the following dialogue):
...But he didn't!
That's what he told her. "I didn't
eat dirt!" "No? Well, then open
your mouth." So Krishna opened his
Pi opens his mouth in imitation.
MOTHER (TAMIL) (CONT'D)
And what do you think Yashoda saw?
She saw in Krishna's mouth the
whole entire universe.
30 PI AND RAVI'S BEDROOM, 1966 - NIGHT 30
Pi has made a tent of his blanket, a flashlight glowing
beneath the covers. In his tent, Pi flips through the pages
of a Hindu comic book, enthralled by the story of Krishna...
The panels of the comic book show Krishna's mouth falling
open, revealing stars and planets, the universe unfolding in
34 PONDI TEMPLE COURTYARD, 1966 - NIGHT 34
A tank ceremony is about to begin. The tank is a square
reservoir the size of a soccer field; Pi's family sits among
the crowd on the steps that lead down to the water.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
The gods were my superheroes
growing up. Hanuman, the monkey
god, lifting an entire mountain to
save his friend Lakshmana. Ganesh,
the elephantheaded, 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.
(With quiet sincerity.)
Spectacle. Don't let the stories
and pretty lights fool you, boys.
Religion is darkness.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
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
Below, Mother watches the ceremony, lost in contemplation.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
My 'Amma' went to college and
thought her family was part of the
'new India' as well - until her
parents cut her off because they
thought she was marrying beneath
her. Her religion was the only link
she had to her past.
36 EXT. MUNNAR TEA FIELDS, 1973 - DAY 36
Rocky mountaintops jut up through a sea of clouds and mist.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
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.
Ravi walks up to Pi, coins in hand, and whispers.
Challenge. I'll give you two
rupees. Run into that church and
drink the Holy water.
37 INT. CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1973 - DAY 37
Pi leans down to the font beside the door and drinks. He's
about to leave again when he notices the stations of the
cross depicted on plaques that encircle the church.
You must be thirsty. Here, I
brought you this.
Not knowing what else to do, Pi takes the glass and drinks.
An awkward pause as he searches for something - anything - to
say. He finally points up to one of the paintings.
Why would a god do that? Why would
he send his own son to suffer for
the sins of ordinary people?
The Priest smiles down upon Pi.
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.
38 INT. PI'S DINING ROOM, MONTREAL - INTERCUT/CONTINUOUS 38
That made no sense. Sacrificing the
innocent to atone for the sins of
the guilty? What kind of love is
39 EXT. PLANTATION HOME, MUNNAR, 1973 - DAY 39
Ravi and other kids play cricket. Pi sits by a stream, lost
ADULT PI (V.O.)
But this Son - I couldn't get Him
out of my head.
41 INT. CATHOLIC CHURCH, MUNNAR, 1973 - DAY 41 41
Pi stands quizzing the priest near the altar.
If God is so perfect and we're not,
why would He want to create all
this? Why does He need us at all?
All you have to know is that He
loves us. "God so loved the world
that He gave His only Son." This
Son taught us to love one
The priest's words continue as Pi leans in, listening.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
The more I listened to the priest,
the more I came to like this Son of
42 INT. PI'S BEDROOM, 1973 - DAY 42
Pi kneels, smiling, in an attitude of worship.
Thank you, Vishnu, for introducing
me to Christ.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
I came to faith through Hinduism
and I found God's love through
Christ, but God wasn't finished
with me yet.
43 EXT. MUSLIM QUARTER, 1973 - DAY 43
As Pi wanders through the Muslim Quarter, the call to prayer
plays out over a loudspeaker affixed to the nearby mosque. Pi
watches as people pray.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
God works in mysterious ways - and
so it was He introduced Himself
again, this time by the name of
Pi crosses inquisitively up the few steps of a mosque in the
Muslim quarter, looking inside, where dozens of the FAITHFUL
are lined up row upon row, praying.
A43 EXT. PONDICHERRY MOSQUE, 1973 - DAY A43
The speaker on top of the mosque plays the Muslim call to
44 INT. PI FAMILY HOME, 1973 - DAY 44
Pi is out in front of the house kneeling on a prayer mat,
repeating a prayer. Father passes by with friends. He stops
to watch Pi.
45 INT. FAMILY KITCHEN/DINING ROOM, 1973 - DUSK 45
Father sits at the dinner table with his family. The servant
offers a dish of lamb to Father only. Father pops a bite into
his mouth, savoring it.
This lamb is exquisite - it's best
dish on the table. You are all
As he chews, Father notices Pi completing a blessing.
You only need to convert to three
more religions, Piscine, and you
will spend your life on holiday.
Are you going to Mecca this year,
Swami Jesus? Or to Rome, for your
coronation as Pope Pi-us?
You stay out of this, Ravi. Just as
you like cricket, Pi has his own
No Gita, Ravi has a point, no? You
cannot follow three different
religions at the same time,
Because believing in everything at
the same time is the same as not
believing in anything at all.
He's young Santosh - he's still
finding his way.
And how can he find his way if he
does not choose a path?
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.
That is true. Your father is right.
Science can teach us more about
what's out there -
(With a hand to her
- but not what is in here. Art,
music, literature - they all spring
from our faith.
Some eat meat, some eat vegetable.
I do not expect us all to agree
about everything. But I would 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?
I would like to be baptized.
Father and Mother react. Ravi stifles a laugh.
46 EXT. PI'S STREET - DAY 46
Pi walks down the front steps of his row house, stretching
and rubbing his belly at the end of a good meal. The writer
So you're a Christian and a Muslim?
And a Hindu, of course.
And a Jew, I suppose?
Oh, well, I do teach a course on
the Kabbalah at the University. And
why not? Faith is a house with many
But no room for doubt?
Plenty. On every floor. Doubt is
useful. It keeps faith a living
thing. After all, you can't know
the strength of your faith until
it's been tested.
47 INT. THE TIGER FEEDING AREA, 1973, PART 1 - DAY 47
Pi (12) and Ravi (14) cross into a drab cement enclosure
behind the tiger exhibit. A hallway with closed gates at both
ends leads out to the exhibit.
Where's Selvam? We shouldn't be in
here without him.
Stop worrying. I have seen him do
this a thousand times. I want to
meet our new tiger.
He drops meat on the floor by the bars.
Hello! Richard Parker!
48 EXT. MONTREAL STREET - DAY 48
Pi and the writer walk along a Montreal street. The Writer
stares at Pi, bewildered.
A tiger? Richard Parker was a
He got his 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 tiger was
called Richard Parker. We laughed
about it and the name stuck.
47 EXT. THE TIGER FEEDING AREA, PART TWO 1973 - DAY 47
Let's go. Before we get into
I want to see him close up.
You're not a zoo keeper. Come on!
An adolescent BENGAL TIGER appears at the other end of thE
hall. Ravi bolts, running out of the feeding area. Pi is
That's it, Richard Parker. It's for
Pi holds the lamb through the bars, The tiger walks slowly
down the hallway, regarding Pi with a detached curiosity, as
unthreatening in his manner as a large housecat. Pi begins
trembling from sheer excitement.
He doesn't hear the approach of uneven footsteps - Father
appears, followed by Ravi. Just as Richard Parker approaches
Father yanks Pi violently away from the cage, wrenching Pi's
hand through the bars. Richard Parker, startled, raises his
head, hissing. He turns and bounds back out through the gate
at the other end of the hallway, disappearing into the
exhibit area. Father spins Pi around and shoves him against
What are you thinking?! Are you out
of your mind? Who gave you
permission to come back here? You
have just ignored everything I have
ever taught you!
I just wanted to say 'Hello' to
You think that tiger is your
friend. He is an animal, not a
Animals have souls. I've seen it in
Father turns to Ravi, who stands by the gate.
50 EXT. THE FEEDING CAGES, 1973 - A SHORT TIME LATER 50
Father, Pi and Ravi watch as Selvam carries a goat into the
You're sure, Mr. Patel? Pi's just a
Do it. Go ahead.
Selvam sets the goat down and ties a piece of rope around the
(To the boys:)
Animals don't think like we do;
people who forget that get
themselves killed. That tiger is
not your friend. When you look into
his eyes, you are seeing your own
emotions reflected back at you -
Selvam ties the goat to the bars at the gate area where Pi
had been about to feed Richard Parker.
(Quietly, to Pi:)
Don't be stupid! Say you're sorry.
Mother arrives at the gate with a WOMAN WORKER and rushes to
What have you done, Piscine? You
know what your father said about
coming back here.
I'm sorry. I was...
Mother turns to Father, quietly - referring to the goat:
What are you thinking?
This is between a father and his
Selvam, the gate.
He said he's sorry. You want to
scar them for life?
Scar them? That boy almost lost his
But he's still a boy!
He will be a man sooner than you
think, and this is a lesson I do
not want them ever to forget.
(Turning to Selvam:)
Selvam opens the far gate. Richard Parker re-enters the
hallway. He sees the goat and slinks forward, lowering his
body, his ears flattening against his skull. The goat
freezes. Everyone watches in silence, transfixed by the
intensity of the tiger. Pi watches the animal spirit glowing
up within Richard Parker's eyes as instinct takes over.
In a sudden, single burst, Richard Parker bolts the length of
the hallway, claws reaching out through the bars of the cage
toward the goat.
We don't see what happens next - but the family does.
ON THE CAGE: Only a few seconds have passed, but Richard
Parker has already turned to go back into his enclosure, the
lifeless goat in his mouth. The family watches - Father is
impassive, Ravi traumatized; mother wraps her arms around Pi.
52 INT. PI AND RAVI'S BEDROOM, 1976 - MORNING 52
A rainy early morning in monsoon season. Pi (now 16) lies in
bed, reading "Notes from the Underground." Ravi is still
asleep. The radio plays in the other room.
NEWS ANNOUNCER (ON RADIO)
... and so has placed the country
in a State of Emergency.
NEWS ANNOUNCER (ON RADIO) (CONT'D)
Under the directive, the states of
Gujarat and Tamil Nadu will be
placed under the direct authority
of the central government. Police
will be granted powers to arrest
and indefinitely detain citizens
responsible for the uprising.
Ravi's alarm goes off. Ravi reaches to shut it off.
55 55 EXT. PI'S SCHOOL, PONDICHERRY, 1977 - DAY 55 55
End of the school day. Pi, in raincoat, walks out to the
street, where student bicycles are lined up by the hundreds.
He gets his bike.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Things changed after the day of
Appa's lesson. The world had lost
some of its enchantment. School was
a bore - nothing but facts,
fractions and French. Words and
patterns that went on and on. I
grew restless, searching for
something that would bring meaning
into my life. And then I met
59 I/E. DANCE STUDIO, PONDICHERRY, 1977 - DAY 59
CLOSE ON ANANDI (15) radiant, graceful, eyes aglow, dancing
with passionate intensity.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Mother made me study music, and one
day my teacher came down with the
flu; he asked if I could take his
place one afternoon playing rhythms
for a dance class.
Pi watches her, hopelessly in love, absent-mindedly drumming
along. He is drumming for a class of a dozen female students;
a DANCE MASTER (female) accompanies the beat vocally -
"Tumtikita..." etc. The dance master claps her hands,
interrupting to teach.
No. If you do not concentrate, you
cannot express your love of God
through dance. Feel the ground
beneath your feet;
DANCE MASTER (CONT'D)
open your gaze out onto the
horizon, let that spiritual energy
pulse through you and out into the
world through abinea. Anandi, come
to the front; lead them.
Anandi obeys; Pi watches her, lost in admiration, until the
teacher taps a wood block to get his attention. The girls in
the class giggle - Pi blushes, embarrassed.
60 I/E. THE TOWN MARKET/THE BANYAN TREE, 1977 - DAY 60
Anandi walks with two of her FRIENDS through the town
market.ACROSS THE MARKET, Pi hides behind a flower seller's
stall. Gathering his courage, he peers out, searching for
Anandi. She is nowhere to be seen. He walks into an open area
of the market that surrounds a banyan tree. Suddenly, he
hears a voice behind him.
Why are you following me?
Pi turns - Anandi stands before him, her friends a short
distance behind her, eavesdropping.
You were following me.
(After a beat, to cover
his evident guilt:)
What does this mean?
Pi vaguely imitates the hand gesture - pinching the tips of
his fingers together - that he saw Anandi use in the dance
rehearsal. Anandi stares at him, bewildered.
In the dance, you went from Pataka,
which means the forest, and then
you did-then you did Samputa, which
means something that is hidden, and
after that you did this... and then
you did Chatura.
Pi demonstrates her dancing. Anandi smiles, while her friends
giggle at his performance.
But at the very end you did this...
(Repeating the gesture:)
None of the other dancers did that.
What did you mean? The God of love
is hiding in the forest?
No - that also means the lotus
The lotus flower is hiding in the
forest? Why would a lotus flower
hide in the forest?
Anandi blushes. She has no answer.
62 EXT. THE ZOO EXHIBITS, 1977 - DAY 62
Pi and Anandi stand at the Bengal Tiger cage, Pi proudly
introducing Anandi to the zoo's finest exhibit.
And this is Richard Parker. He's
the most magnificent creature we've
ever had here.
Look at the way he's turning his
head. Showing off - like a dancer.
No, he heard something - he's
listening. You see?
64 INT. PATEL DINING ROOM, 1977 - DUSK 64
Pi sits at dinner with the family, a half-smile on his face,
obviously lost in thoughts about Anandi. Father's voice
gradually breaks through into Pi's consciousness.
So...you see? We have talked about
it for some time... Do you
understand what I'm saying? Pi?
Pi glances over.
Sorry. You've been...
Worried. For my family. Our animals
are worth far more abroad than here
in India, and if the town council
stops supporting us, I don't know
where we'll be. So... it is what we
have to do. Do you understand?
I'm sorry... what are we talking
We are leaving India.
We are selling the zoo.
The zoo itself was never ours to
sell - the land belongs to the
town. But the animals are ours, and
if we sell them, we will have
enough to start a new life.
But where would we go? Our life is
Canada. I have some opportunities
for work in Winnipeg. I'll be
shipping most of the animals for
sale in North America; we can get
freighter passage for the whole
family. So, it is settled. We will
sail like Columbus!
But Columbus was looking for India!
EXT. PONDICHERRY, BENEATH THE PIER, 1977 - DAY
Pi and Anandi sit together on the crossbeams beneath the
dock. Anandi takes a length of colored silken threads, tying
them around Pi's wrist to serve as 'Rakhi' - a sisterly
blessing for protection on his journey.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
It takes a lot of work to sell a
zoo; before we left Anandi and I
had time enough to break each
other's hearts. Of course, I
promised I'd come back one day...
It's funny... I remember everything
else about our last day, but I
don't remember saying goodbye...
As she finishes, Pi reaches out impulsively to hold her hand.
67 EXT. CARGO SHIP DECK, 1977 - DUSK 67
Sunset. Pi stands at the railing of the cargo ship, staring
out at the Chennai shoreline. Mother approaches.
Pi, they're serving dinner below.
Pi doesn't respond. Mother approaches and stands beside him.
(After a beat.)
Piscine, You have a whole life
ahead of you. We're doing this for
you and Ravi. Come inside and have
68 INT. THE TSIMTSUM, MESS HALL, 1977 - DAY 68
The family stands in the mess hall line along with the CREW.
The FRENCH COOK, a grizzled and thoroughly unpleasant man,
loads a plate and slides it over the counter to Mother. The
meal consists of liver and onions, sausages, and rice soaked
in gravy. Mother points at her rice.
My sons and I are vegetarians. Do
you have anything - ?
The French Cook ladles ore gravy over her rice.
No - no! Not more gravy.
(Thick French accent:)
You don't want gravy?
(Quickly switching to
No, I want something vegetarian. I-
The cook takes her plate, sets it on the counter in front of
Father. The following takes place in French (subtitled).
There. No problems.
She asked if you have something
Vegetarian - the cow that produced
this liver was vegetarian, the pigs
that went into these sausages were
Very funny. But she doesn't eat
Then she can eat the sausages, the
rice, the gravy.
Or you can go cook your own food.
How dare you talk to my wife like
The cook shoves a plate of plain rice over the counter.
Here's your rice. I cook for
sailors, not curry eaters.
Father grabs the cook's forearms, yanking him halfway over
the high counter.
What did you call us??
Let go of me!
Who do you think you are? You're
nothing but a servant!
I feed people! You feed monkeys!
I'll teach you respect!
Sailors descend on the two, pulling them apart.
A SHORT TIME
69 INT. THE TSIMTSUM MESS HALL, 1977 - DAY 69
The family sits eating silently in the aftermath of the
scuffle. A TAIWANESE SAILOR comes alongside Pi carrying a
plate of rice with gravy. He speaks with a Taiwanese accent
and a gentle smile.
Hello, I am happy Buddhist, so I
eat rice next to gravy. On ship,
gravy is not meat. Is taste. Okay?
Pi smiles in gratitude, but the gravy looks anything but
70 INT. TSIMTSUM CARGO HOLD, 1977 - DAY 70
Pi eats a banana from the food set aside for the animals in
the cargo hold. He sits next to the transport cage of ORANGE
JUICE, a female orangutan with a baby orang in her arms.
Animal crates and cages surround Pi, the air filled with
screeches and growls.
Father enters the hold, carrying food for the animals.
(Noting Pi's banana:)
Don't worry - we will have plenty
of fresh supplies after we stop in
Father mixes tranquilizer pills into food for the orangs.
Why give O.J. a tranquilizer? She's
not going to cause any trouble.
The stress of traveling is not good
for the animals.
And it helps with the seasickness.
We don't want to be cleaning up
after a seasick orangutan, do we?
Pi looks up, notices Father watching him.
Father tries to smile along with his little attempt at humor,
but his manner is stiff, his eyes furtive and uneasy.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
My father was a businessman - he
had never handled the animals
himself. I realized that leaving
India must have been harder for him
than it was for me.
71 EXT. MONTREAL GARDENS - DAY 71
Adult Pi and the Writer sit on a bench in the gardens. Pi has
fallen silent, reflective.
Have I forgotten anything?
I think you've set the stage. So
far we have an Indian boy named
after a French swimming pool on a
Japanese ship full of animals
heading to Canada.
Yes. Now we have to send our boy
into the middle of the Pacific, and
And make me believe in God.
Yes. We'll get there.
72 EXT. A TOPOGRAPHICAL MAP OF THE PACIFIC, 1977 - DUSK 72
Moving in on the Mariana Trench, an ominous gash of darkest
ADULT PI (V.O.)
It was four days out of Manila -
above the Mariana Trench, the
deepest spot on earth...
Zoom closer until the blue fills the screen...
ADULT PI (V.O.)
Our ship, the Tsimtsum, pushed on,
bullishly indifferent to its
surroundings. It moved with the
slow, massive confidence of a
73 EXT. THE TSIMTSUM - NIGHT 73
Lightning and thunder. The freighter sailing in ominous
weather, the name Tsimtsum emblazoned on its hull. Choppy
seas, rains, a storm.
74 INT. CARGO SHIP, THE FAMILY CABIN - NIGHT 74
Darkness - the faint glow of a nightlight. Close on Pi's
sleeping face, the cabin swaying in the storm.
BANG. A loud, deep rumble breaks into his consciousness. The
ship shakes. Pi's eyes open. He looks around, listens.
Nothing. He leans over the side of his bunk and wakes Ravi.
Ravi? Did you hear that?
... I'm sleeping.
It's a thunderstorm! Let's go
Are you crazy? We'll get hit by
No, we won't. It'll hit the bridge
Don't tempt a storm, Pi.
On the other side of the narrow room, Mother shifts
uncomfortably on the double bed she shares with Father.
75 INT. SHIP HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS 75
Pi heads upstairs to the deck.
76 EXT. THE CARGO DECK - CONTINUOUS 76
The deck of the ship is dark. Pi steps out into a bracing
rain and walks to the rail, wind whipping his hair. He
laughs, exhilarated, as rain splashes over his face. Throwing
arms wide, Pi dances in imitation of Anandi's dance, slipping
more than once on the rain-soaked deck, shouting in giddy
More rain, lord of storms! Let it
He finishes, laughing as he falls against the railing. The
deck lights suddenly all come on at once; a warning alarm
sounds over the loudspeakers.
Pi slips to the front of the deck and stands up, watching in
horror as a wave washes over the bow, carrying several
sailors overboard. He pushes himself away from the railing
and runs back down below.
INT. THE STAIRS TO THE CABINS/LOWER LEVEL - CONTINUOUS
Pi stumbles down the tilted staircase.
AMMA! APPA! RAVI! GET OUT, GET OUT!
Halfway down, Pi hits water. He dives, searching for his
family. The hall lights flicker - the passage falls dark an
instant before the emergency lights come on in the water
below, which nearly reaches the ceiling. Pi dives, trying to
swim against the flowing current; he's astonished to find a
ZEBRA swimming toward him, passing overhead. He tries to swim
further, but the enormous force of rushing water and air is
too great; he scrambles backward, groping toward the
EXT. THE CARGO DECK - CONTINUOUS
Pi bursts on deck, coughing and gagging for air.
HELP!! SOMEBODY HELP ME!!
Pi sees movement - animals running. He scrambles toward them,
the ship groaning as it lists sideways.
Oxen and deer are visible on the far side of the deck,
backlit by emergency lights; Pi hears monkeys screeching, the
clatter of hoofs pounding. In the distance, Sailors shout
orders in panicked voices.
Pi comes onto the lower deck, where he sees three men - the
Buddhist (Taiwanese Sailor) from the dining hall; the
JAPANESE CAPTAIN, and SAILOR #1 - arguing with the French
cook, who has climbed into the stern of one of the lifeboats
that hangs off the side of the ship. Pi runs to the Captain.
Please save my family!
Don't scare. Okay? Wait stay here.
He grabs a life vest and starts to put it on Pi.
JAPANESE CAPTAIN (CONT'D)
Here, put this on!
You have to help them, please! Oh
no my family, please. You have to
help them, my family is back there.
We don't have time.
The Taiwanese Sailor jumps onto the ship.
We help. You must go.
Who let all the animals out?
They shove a life vest over Pi's head.
You have to go now.
No wait! My father - he can't swim -
This is your last chance--just go!
They guide Pi to the side, where a section of the ship's
railing has been removed to give access to the lifeboat. They
push Pi over the edge; Pi falls onto the lifeboat, bouncing
on the protective tarp that is still stretched taut across
the bow. He grabs at the rope holding the bow, trying not to
slip off. The sailors are shouting at the French cook, who
stands at the stern.
Hey! You! What are you doing?!
Loosen the lines! Bring it down!
Tie it down! Tie it down!
(to the sailors:)
The sailors look towards the upper deck. Pi follows their
looks and watches in horror as a zebra launches itself over
the side of the ship, careening through the air toward the
safety of the lifeboat. The French cook staggers backward and
jumps out of the way, falling to the water below. Pi throws
up his arms as the life boat starts to drop. The zebra arcs
through the air, missing the tarp, landing on the exposed
stern with a sickening thud, shattering the rear bench. The
force sends the rig lines spinning.
The lifeboat plummets to the water below. The impact spins it
around, nearly washing Pi overboard. He is left clinging to
the back of the tarp, the zebra on the floor of the lifeboat
before him. As the lifeboat drops down the side of the swell,
Pi slides to the front of the tarp. The Tsimtsum's propeller
rises behind him.
As Pi steadies himself, a swell lifts the lifeboat, crashing
it onto the deck of the Tsimtsum. It drops back into the sea,
rolling over completely. The vessel instantly rights itself -
the lifeboat is designed to be virtually unsinkable. Pi lands
on the lifeboat's floorboards, next to the zebra.
Pi sees the Tsimtsum at an angle, it's bow dipping below the
water. As he tries to get up, Pi notices the orange emergency
whistle that dangles from the vest. He grabs it and blows,
shouting between blasts.
HELP! HELP! SOMEBODY, HELP ME!
The deck lights of the freighter glow with a cheery,
unnatural brilliance. By the light of the ship, Pi can just
make out a distant figure in the water.
HEY! OVER HERE!
Pi spies a lifebuoy tied to a rope. He grabs it and heaves it
as far as he can across the water. OUT IN THE WATER, the
lifebuoy splashes a few yards away from the shadowy figure.
The moment Pi feels the tug on the line, he jumps into the
uncovered part of the boat, lies back and begins hauling the
rope in. Nearly finished, he lifts his head to peer over the
side and sees who he's rescued.
A beat - and then Pi realizes what he's done. He scrambles
backward in horror, trying to throw the rope overboard.
NO! GO AWAY!
Richard Parker paddles toward the boat. Pi grabs an oar,
wielding it against the approaching tiger. Richard Parker
tries to grab the oar. Pi yanks the oar away, falling onto
He listens as Richard Parker claws his way up the side of the
swaying boat, coughing and gagging water. Pi scrambles
backward, oar still in hand. He rises and jumps overboard.
79 EXT. THE OCEAN - CONTINUOUS 79
Pi plunges into the roiling water. An enormous wave rolls
toward Pi - filling his lungs with air, Pi dives under, away
from the assault of the raging storm.
80 EXT. BENEATH THE WATER - CONTINUOUS 80
Silence as Pi hangs below the surface, arms wide, groping for
focus and calm.
Lightning casts a blazing white veil over the surface of the
water above him, backlighting fish and animals, waves frozen
in time like wrinkled bedsheets, their motionless texture
pocked and dimpled with raindrops. As the sky explodes in
white flashes, the scene is caught in surreal still shots.
A hippo swims past, it's heavy form moving gracefully.
Pi swims toward the camera - then freezes, reacting in horror
A shark swoops past him and up toward the struggling animals
near the surface. Pi dives defensively - the camera follows.
Ahead, the Tsimtsum is visible, fifty feet beyond Pi, its
deck lights dipping below the surface, casting an eerie
underwater glow, bubbles flowing up to the surface; nearby,
Pi can make out the floating oar.
81 EXT. THE OCEAN/THE BOAT - CONTINUOUS 81
Pi bursts above water in total panic, throwing his arms
around the oar, coughing up sea water and bile. The lifebuoy
floats a dozen feet off; he swims toward it. He grabs the oar
moments before a huge wave sweeps him up and over the
lifeboat. He lands on the other side, the oar lost, and drags
himself onto the stern. He jumps over the kicking zebra and
scrambles onto the boat tarp.
An oar sticks out from under the boat cover, hanging out over
the front of the lifeboat. Pi climbs out on the oar, keeping
himself a safe distance from the tiger he assumes is beneath
the tarp. The air vibrates with a tremendous belching groan;
Pi looks over to the cargo ship, watching, astounded...
Amma! Appa! Ravi! I'm sorry! I'm
WIDE SHOT - from top, looking down into the water: the
Tsimtsum abruptly keels and sinks beneath the surface. Pi
watches in horror as the Tsimtsum plummets into the depths of
the Mariana Trench, it's deck lights gradually fading. Pi
bursts into tears as waves from the sinking vessel buffet his
Pi weeps uncontrollably.
EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAWN
The storm has passed, but the skies are still heavy with
disgusting grey clouds. Pi has hung the lifebuoy on the oar
and now sits on it, slumped in exhaustion and shivering.
With what energy he still has, he weeps - his face is puffy
and swollen from a night of tears.
Pi watches a shark fin knife through the waves. His feet have
been trailing in the water; he quickly lifts them out. He
raises his head, looking at his new surroundings - water and
air, clouds and sky. Nothing on the horizon.
Pi creeps forward on the oar, pulling himself onto the
gunnels - the side of the boat. No sign of Richard Parker.
The zebra comes into view in the stern of the lifeboat,
injured legs folded beneath it, staring indifferently into
EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY
Pi stands a few feet away from the zebra, using an emergency
bucket to bail water out of the bottom of the boat, exhausted
from the effort. He pauses to catch his breath, then becomes
aware of a slight movement at one side of the tarp.
A SPOTTED HYENA lurches furtively into view from beneath the
tarp, then disappears again. Pi freezes, dumbfounded.
Hari, the hyena, with a sloping, bear-like forehead and the
nervous manner of a beaten dog, reappears. Pi instantly dives
across the tarp, scrambling for safety on the oar. The hyena
staggers and stumbles listlessly. Pi turns to face the
creature, struggling for calm.
Looks as though your drugs haven't
worn off yet.
The screech of a terrified animal echoes across the water -
the hyena looks out to port, the hair rising on its back,
then staggers beneath the tarp.
Pi squints into the rising sun. An enormous bundle of bananas
bobs into view. The bundle twists and rolls - and Orange
Juice, the orangutan tries desperately to stay on top.
Orange Juice!! This way!
Within moments, the bundle is within reach of the lifeboat;
Pi catches the oar handle in the netting that binds the
bananas together and pulls it against the side of the boat.
O.J. falls onboard in a stuporous fog.
Welcome to Pi's ark!
The netting, wrapped around the handle of the oar, pulls
loose from the bananas, which tumble out of reach. As Pi
reels the netting in, O.J. moans in distress. Pi throws a
banana to O.J. but she is too sick to react.
(A sudden realization)
Where is your boy, Orange Juice?
I'll bet Mother and Father found
him. They'll all be here soon.
O.J. turns to look at Pi, a look of inconsolable sadness in
her eyes - as though she knows better what lies ahead.
84 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY 84
High noon. Intolerable heat. Flies circle the zebra, landing
on Pi's face and arms. He's too exhausted to brush them away.
The only sound is the incessant lapping of water against the
hull. Pi stares out across the ocean - no rescue in sight. He
pushes himself upright, calling over the waves.
HELLO...! HELLO...! ANYBODY?
Pi kneels and bangs his bailing bucket against the hull. The
hyena emergees, shaking its head violently in an attempt to
clear its thoughts. It screams in frustration and begins
yipping. Pi picks up the oar and pokes the hyena to fend it
off. He watches with increasing alarm as the hyena paces in
frantic circles - whatever tranquilizers this animal received
are wearing off. The boy wraps his grip around the paddle,
prepared to defend himself.
The hyena abruptly stops pacing, coughing and retching - then
lies down, shaking from emotional and physical distress. It
sets its head on the edge of the tarp, predator eyes fastened
85 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DUSK 85
A boy, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan silhouetted against
the last fading light of day.
Pi has hung the paddle and lifebuoy off the end of the boat
and perches on the bow. The hyena's eyes seem to glow in the
last light, fixed on Pi. Pi stares back.
Pi fights fatigue as waves splash interminably against the
hull. He winces at each creak of the lifeboat; his eyes glaze
over as he stares out at the endless, dusky seascape. Pi sees
movement in the shadows. The hyena attacks the zebra; the
zebra barks and squeals. O.J. reacts to the violence, crying
No! Stop it! Stop it! No! Stop it!
Stop it! NO!!! NO!!! NO!!!
86 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAWN 86
Silence. Morning. Hazy. Pi slumps over the oar, eyes half
open, glazed. He has stayed up a second night for fear of
being attacked, and now he slowly nods sideways, giving in to
exhaustion despite himself, and tumbles into the water.
Pi gasps in shock as the water slaps him into full
consciousness. He climbs back onto the life ring - coughing,
tired, wet, sad and fearful.
The lifeboat rolls and growls beneath Pi's feet as he stares -
and then he notices O.J. The poor orang is sitting on a side
bench half-hidden by the tarp, and horribly seasick. Her
tongue lolls out of her mouth and she's visibly panting.
I'm sorry, O.J.; I don't have any
seasickness medicine for you -
And then it strikes him.
Supplies! Ah, supplies!
Pi pulls up the edge of the tarp nearest the bow. A row of
benches with hinged lids curve around the bow. Pi opens the
rearmost bench and finds a "LIFEBOAT MANUAL AND NAVIGATIONAL
GUIDE" in a plastic bag along with a pencil lying on top of
bags of supplies. He pulls out the manual and flips through
it - an illustration shows that the boat is lined with
compartments. He opens the next bench - it's stuffed with
He tosses one of the life jackets to O.J., who has no idea
what to make of it. O.J. turns to watch him, utterly
88 EXT. THE OCEAN, BEHIND THE LIFEBOAT/THE LIFEBOAT - DAY 88
An hour later. Pi finishes tying a knot in a piece of rope
that joins oars to the lifebuoy. Pull back to reveal that Pi
has built a makeshift raft, tying three oars into a triangle
around the lifebuoy and using the banana net to gather the
life vests into a bunch beneath.
Pi sits back, mopping his brow, then begins pushing and
dragging his raft over to the edge of the lifeboat to launch
The hyena comes out from under the tarp to see what all the
noise is. As it paces, it gets too close to O.J., who
suddenly comes to life, rising up to her full height, pulling
back her lips and roaring. The hair on the hyena's neck and
shoulders stands up - suddenly, it launches an attack. Pi
cries out, flinching - but O.J. uses one of her long arms to
thump the beast on top of the head.
Pi cheers the blow -
But the hyena gets up in an instant - it attacks again, this
time going for O.J.'s throat.
NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!!
O.J. gets pulled down to the floor of the boat, the battle
continuing out of view. Pi searches through the piles of
rope, finding a knife. He rises and dashes forward.
Pi reaches the end of the tarp. The hyena retreats. O.J. lies
in the stern, dead.
Pi, enraged, confronts the hyena.
Come on! Come on!! COME ON...!!!
Pi feels the tarp move under his feet... suddenly, Richard
Parker launches like a blur from under the canvas, going
straight after the hyena. Pi falls backward on the tarp,
As the tiger clamps his jaws around the hyena, finishing it
off, Pi leaps back to the bow, shoving his makeshift raft
into the water. The raft splashes in the water and the tiger
turns; Pi looks back and comes face-to-face with Richard
The tiger stands with front feet on the crossbench, sniffing
the sea air, examining his surroundings for the first time,
agitated by this open air environment. As he turns to go back
under the tarp, his gaze falls on Pi. Richard Parker's ears
swivel, and his lip twitches, revealing a canine as long as a
Pi, terrified, grabs an oar and holds it out, trying to
prevent an attack. Unfortunately, he also blocks Richard
Parker's path back under the tarp. The tiger tries to go
around the oar, and when Pi blocks his way, the tiger swings
a paw, knocking the oar into the ocean with such force that
Pi is spun completely around with his back to the tiger. He
falls into a crouch, cowering, prepared to die.
Richard Parker's predator instinct takes over. He snarls and
pounces on the tarp, menacingly close to Pi - then hesitates,
unsettled by the softness of the tarp beneath his feet. The
tiger retreats, examining his surroundings.
Pi jumps toward the raft. He belly flops into the ocean and
rises in a panic, trying to scramble up onto the raft, only
to have it flip completely over his head.
A88 EXT THE RAFT - DAY A88
Grey, lifeless skies above the vastness of the ocean. Pi
shivers, his eyes glassy, his lips chapped and skin waxen
from hours of exposure. He tries various ways to re-shape the
A shark slips up alongside Pi and bumps him, sending Pi
scrambling back to the safety of the raft.
91 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY 91
Pi pulls the raft to the back of the lifeboat, tying the rope
line on one of the tarp hooks. Hands appear on the gunnels.
Pi lifts his head over the bow. The tiger is nowhere in
sight. Pi quietly climbs aboard. He tries in vain to control
his chattering teeth and shaking limbs as he opens the
starboard bow storage bench.
He sees a duffel bag, zips it open and rifles through the
contents. It contains an array of survival supplies - as he
lifts it out, his eye falls upon a stack of cans marked
"Water." He pops a hole in a water can with the can opener
and drinks one, tilting his head back and closing his eyes in
ecstasy. He throws a few on the raft. He grabs a couple of
boxes marked "Baked Wheat Biscuits." Pi tears open a box and
stuffs a biscuit into his mouth.
The biscuits are so dry that he is barely able to chew them -
crumbs fall from his lips into the supply hatch.
A rat skitters out from under the tarp, grabbing biscuit
crumbs, then retreating.
A low growl. Richard Parker charges out from his den and
bounds onto the tarp. Pi staggers in terror and falls
helplessly into the storage bench, with only his head poking
out above the tarp.
The tiger steps toward Pi, then hesitates - again, the
softness of the tarp unnerves him. He steps back off the tarp
and paces the stern.
Pi creeps out of the storage bench - then watches in horror
as Richard Parker swivels and charges him again, this time
beneath the tarp. The rat scurries back out of hiding and
Richard Parker's head follows, looming up out from the gap
between the tarp and the storage bench. Pi jumps onto the
tarp, out of the tiger's reach.
Richard Parker scrambles backward and reappears at the far
end of the tarp, roaring, prepared to attack from above -
then halts, watching in astonishment as the rat hops around
the lifeboat, finally running up Pi's shirt and landing on
Pi grabs the rat by the tail and throws it. The rat sails,
paws and tail stretched wide, across the boat. Richard Parker
opens his mouth and the rat flies in, its tail disappearing
between the tiger's lips like a spaghetti noodle.
As Richard Parker enjoys his treat, Pi climbs backward over
the bow, unhooking the rope, grabbing the water cans and the
biscuits and slipping over the side, falling into the water.
He drops onto the raft and pushes himself back with his feet.
The raft floats back and hits the end of the ropeline with a
jerk. Pi remembers the rope and goes back to untie it.
Suddenly Richard Parker appears at the bow and lunges at him,
almost falling off the front of the lifeboat onto Pi. The
tiger scrambles back onto the boat and off the tarp, while Pi
paddles the raft away.
When he is finally at a safe distance, fear and stress
overwhelm Pi - he throws up what little food and water he has
92 EXT. THE RAFT, BEHIND THE LIFEBOAT - NIGHT 92
A full moon, backlit clouds rolling through the skies,
reflected in the water below. Pi floats behind the lifeboat,
weeping, surrounded by nothing but terror and the abyss. A
thick range of clouds moves in, threatening to cut off the
light from the moon and stars.
Pi watches Richard Parker on the lifeboat, a shadowy
silhouette on the bow ahead. The tiger takes the zebra
carcass under the tarp. The clouds blot out the sky. Darkness
93 EXT. ABOVE THE RAFT - EARLY MORNING 93
Angle on Pi, the raft and boat from above, lost on an endless
ocean, the bright colors of morning light dancing on the
surface of the water.
Pi has taken out his pencil and now writes on the back page
of his survival manual, his voice heard over:
PI (WRITING V.O.)
"My name is Pi Patel. I have been
in a shipwreck. I am on a lifeboat
alone - with a tiger. Please send
He tears the page out and stuffs it into an empty water can,
sealing the opening with a plastic lid. He tosses it as far
as possible; the can splashes down, rippling the water, then
bobs, going nowhere. Pi stares at the bobbing can, crushed as
he sees the futility of this plan.
A defeated pause, and then Pi looks up and sees the majesty
of his surroundings. The cloud cover breaks; dawn light glows
down on Pi.
A grunt from the lifeboat. Pi turns, surprised. He grabs the
tow line and reels into the lifeboat.
He lifts the tarp; Richard Parker's eyes glow out at him from
the shadows, greeting Pi with a low snarl. Pi gingerly lowers
the tarp and casts the raft back from the bow. He looks up.
(In awe, shuddering:)
God... I give myself to you. I am
your vessel. Whatever comes... I
want to know. Show me.
EXT. THE RAFT - DAY
Pi sits on his makeshift raft, flipping through his manual.
The foldout map of the manual shows the ocean's currents,
longitudes, latitudes, and depths. Pi stares at the chart,
bewildered by it all. He rises up on his knees, looking out
at the ocean around him, then sits back, hand to forehead.
There are no lines!
95 EXT. THE RAFT - DAY - MONTAGE 95
Montage - Pi struggling with discomfort on his raft.
PI (READING - V.O.)
"Set your house in order and dig in
for the battle to survive.
Establish a strict schedule for
eating, keeping watch and getting
rest. Do not drink urine or sea
Keep busy, but avoid unnecessary
exertion. The mind can be kept
occupied by playing card games,
Twenty Questions, or I Spy.
Community singing is another sure-
fire way to lift the spirits.
Telling stories is highly
recommended. Above all, don't lose
- Pi scratches marks into the side of the boat to indicate
the passage of time - it is his 11th day at sea.
A96 EXT. THE RAFT - A SHORT TIME LATER A96
Pi is still reading his survival manual. The waves pick up.
The lifeboat rocks. Somewhere beneath the tarp, the tiger
lets out a faint groan of discomfort. On Pi as he
PI (READING V.O.:)
"Few things can sap the spirit
faster than seasickness. Waves are
more strongly felt when a boat
turns sideways to the current. A
sea anchor is used as a drag to
keep the boat's head to the wind.
PI (READING V.O.:) (CONT'D)
Proper use of them can increase
control and reduce seasickness
during rough seas...
Pi takes a sea anchor from inside his life ring and tosses it
overboard. As soon as the sea anchor has been deployed, the
raft slows down and the anchor lines go taut.
97 EXT. RAFT - DAY 97
Pi has rigged an additional line between the open end of the
lifeboat and his raft.
PI (READING V.O.)
For castaways who must share their
lifeboats with large dangerous
carnivores it's advisable to
establish a territory as your own.
The following course of action is
Step one: choose a day when waves
are moderate but regular.
Step two: with the lifeboat facing
into the waves, making the ride as
comfortable as possible, blow your
Step three: turn the lifeboat
sideways to the waves, accompanied
by harsh aggressive use of the
whistle. With sufficient
repetition, the animal will
associate the sound of the whistle
with the discomfort of seasickness.
Similar methods have long been used
by circus trainers, though they
generally lack access to rough
He reels in this line, turning the boat sideways to the
waves. The rocking increases. Pi blows the whistle several
times harshly ("warning" signal) as the rocking increases.
From within the boat, he hears the tiger groan. He grabs the
original lifeline that connects the raft to the boat and
hauls himself in. Pi grins, spits out the whistle.
(A ringmaster's call:)
Let the trumpets blare, let the
drum rolls begin! Prepare to be
amazed! Here it is, for your
enjoyment and instruction, the show
you've been waiting for all your
life will soon begin!
Are you ready for the miracle of
it? Well, then - I give to you...
Pi lets go of the second line, raising his hand with a
... the ASTOUNDING BENGAL TIGER!
He pulls the raft next to the tarp end of the lifeboat. The
tiger crawls out from under the tarp, violently ill.
(Rocking the boat:)
Hello, Richard Parker. Sorry about
the choppy ride.
Pi pulls himself onto the bow. Richard Parker tries to lift
his head, then groans, giving it up. Pi lifts the whistle to
his mouth and blows it repeatedly as he advances to the front
edge of the tarp, opens his fly and pisses in a straight line
across the midpoint of the boat.
MINE! YOU UNDERSTAND? YOURS - MINE!
(He blows his whistle)
He steps back to observe the effect of this provocation on
the seasick tiger. Richard Parker staggers to the edge of the
tarp. He takes a deep sniff and winces, groaning, his tongue
hanging out in distaste. The tiger turns away from Pi, facing
the stern. Pi thinks the battle is won - until the tiger
lifts his tail and sprays him with a tremendous burst of
PI (READING V.O.) (CONT'D)
Step four: disregard steps one
A97 EXT. THE RAFT - AFTERNOON A97
Pi pulls in the solar still. Pi bends down to suck fresh
water from the straw that protrudes from a water still,
delighted to discover that it works. He carefully pours some
of the water into a can for himself, then pours the rest into
B97 EXT. THE RAFT/THE LIFEBOAT - A SHORT TIME LATER B97
Pi pulls himself up to the bow of the lifeboat, sets a bucket
of water in the boat and blows his whistle. Richard Parker
sticks his head out from under the tarp.
Here, Richard Parker. I've got some
water for you.
Pi blows the whistle once more, casting the raft adrift
again. Richard Parker sniffs, then begins lapping greedily at
103 EXT. RAFT - INSERT 103
INSERT of Pi writing in manual - text on page reflects Pi's
In the zoo, we fed our tigers an
average of five kilos of meat a
day. Richard Parker will be getting
104 EXT. RAFT - CONTINUOUS 104
Pi chews for a moment, then spits out a blob of biscuit and
presses the food ball onto his hook, savoring the crumbs that
remain in his mouth. He tosses the hook and biscuit onto the
water - the hook sinks, leaving the crumble of biscuit
floating uselessly on the surface. Pi watches helplessly as
fish rise to the surface to nibble at the soggy crumbs.
Tigers are powerful swimmers, and,
if he gets hungry enough, I'm
afraid the little bit of water
between us won't be any protection.
I need to find a way to feed him.
God made tigers carnivores, so I
must learn to catch fish. If I
don't, I'm afraid his last meal
will be a skinny vegetarian boy.
Pi thinks a moment. He takes off one of his shoes, using the
knife to cut a sliver of leather off the side. He presses the
hook through the leather and tosses it in the water. Pi pulls
in his fishing line - the leather is gone.
A SHORT TIME
105 EXT. RAFT - DAY 105
Pi has cut his shoe into a dozen bits of leather and tried
fishing several times - Always with the same result. Richard
Parker, watching, mops at his jaw to wipe away drool - he's
clearly getting hungry.
EXT. THE LIFEBOAT/THE RAFT - DUSK
Pi still fishes with no success. Richard Parker stares in the
water at the dorado. He leans over the side of the boat,
pawing hungrily at the surface as fish streak past - but the
fish elude him. Richard Parker leans out further, striking
with both paws - and finally jumps in altogether.
Richard Parker strikes and splashes as fish streak past. Pi
grins at the tiger's predicament - but the moment Richard
Parker realizes he can't climb back aboard, he begins
swimming toward the raft. Pi snaps to, recognizing the danger
he's in. He reels the raft over to the lifeboat, practically
leaping onto the bow.
As he hauls the raft aboard, Richard Parker manages to catch
the netting on the raft with one paw. Pi leans back against
an oar with all his weight, trying to lever the raft aboard;
the weight of the tiger tips the entire bow lower in the
water. Pi is about to lose the struggle when the tiger's claw
rips through the netting, and the lifeboat springs back up in
the water; the momentum flips the raft up onto the boat.
Pi turns, watching as Richard Parker swims up behind him
alongside the bow. He digs into the supply box and rises with
a hatchet in his hand, crossing to stand over the tiger and
blowing the whistle threateningly.
Standoff. Pi pumps the axe a few times, but cannot bring
himself to kill the tiger. Richard Parker stares up at Pi a
long moment, then paddles to the stern, trying once again to
pull himself aboard at the other end of the boat.
What am I doing?
Pi kicks at the side of the boat in frustration, and is
surprised to hear a metal clunk. He finds a rectangular
aluminum air box used for bouyancy: Pi then pulls the tarp
back fully for the first time and examines the contents
As he removes one of the floorboard panels, imagining new
uses for the wooden slats, he hears Richard Parker scratching
at the hull of the boat.
Wait - I'm thinking.
107 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - NIGHT 107
Pi has tied a bunch of the flotation boxes to his raft and
loaded it with all the provisions from the lifeboat. He
points a flashlight beam over the side at the exhausted
Richard Parker, the tiger's face and whiskers just above the
surface of the water, scratching at the side of the boat.
Pi backs to the other end of the boat, pushing his raft into
the water with one hand as he rocks the boat to help Richard
Parker climb in. The moment the tiger is aboard, Pi climbs
onto the raft and pushes off, retreating to safety, blowing
the whistle to remind Richard Parker who's in command.
As he floats away, Pi collapses, exhausted, on the raft.
A107 EXT. THE RAFT - DAY A107
Pi goes through the supplies listed in his survival guide,
matching supplies to the pile of booty he's just retrieved
from the lifeboat.
PI (WRITING - V.O.)
93 cans of water...
B107 EXT. THE RAFT - DAY B107
Pi removes all of the lifejackets from under the life ring,
stacking them onto his latest raft structure. The empty
banana netting now drapes beneath the raft; Pi notices that
dorado are attracted to the net and gets an idea.
One of the dorados gets very close to the net - Pi realizes
his opportunity. He hauls in the netting and wrestles the
dorado onto the raft, flailing against the creature's
strength and throwing his full weight onto the creature to
keep it from sliding back into the ocean, riding it like a
bucking bronco. Pi grabs a hatchet from the raft and strikes
the fish over and over again. As the fish begins to die, it
flashes all kinds of colors in rapid succession - blue,
green, red, gold and violet flicker and shimmer neon-like on
its surface. Pi starts back, watching this colorful display
in terrified wonder. Finally, the fish ebbs to grey,
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Pi is devastated. He weeps, bringing his hands together,
pressing them against his forehead, murmuring a prayer to
himself and bowing over the dead fish in abject grief.
Thank you, Lord Vishnu. Thank you
for coming in the form of a fish
and saving our lives. Thank you...
108 EXT. THE RAFT/THE LIFEBOAT - A SHORT TIME LATER 108
Pi reels himself over to the lifeboat. He moves around to the
side of the boat, grabs the dorado by the tail and throws the
entire fish over the side and into the stern. It lands with a
thud, and from somewhere inside the boat, Richard Parker lets
out a grunt of surprise.
After a moment, Pi hears the wet mashing noises of the tiger
devouring the fish. As Pi pushes away from the lifeboat, he
puts the whistle in his mouth, blowing a few sharp blasts to
remind Richard Parker who's in charge.
112A EXT. THE RAFT - NIGHT 112A
A full moon. All around the raft, the green surface of the
water glows with millions of flecks of glowing plankton - and
beneath the surface, fish swim past at multiple depths and in
multiple directions. Pi brushes his fingers over the surface
of the water. The surface ripples where he touched it, the
plankton glowing more brightly, the effect moving outward and
downward through the water, an ever-expanding ring.
Pi hears a faint, rapid succession of blows. He peers into
the encroaching darkness but can see nothing. Richard Parker
is nowhere to be seen. The blows stop and Pi returns his
attention to the light show below.
Pi senses movement deep within the water, a cone of rushing
energy pressing up toward the luminescent surface.
Suddenly, the glowing silhouette of a huge creature wrapped
in phosphorescent plankton - a HUMPBACK WHALE - streaks to
the surface nearby, its mouth gaping. Fifty feet in length,
it thrusts itself up into the air. Pi barely has time to
react, gripping the raft and holding on for his life as the
whale comes crashing back down into the water.
The animal slips back into the ocean, creating a wave that
sends the raft swirling across the water's surface,
submerging for a moment, then bouncing off the side of the
Pi's neatly-stacked water cans and biscuits tumble over the
side of the raft and into the ocean.
The whale disappears into the night, leaving Pi open-mouthed
Of course, I brought all the
biscuits and water on the raft with
me to keep them safe. Idiot.
116 EXT. THE RAFT/LIFEBOAT - LATE AFTERNOON 116
A calm day; gentle waves. Afternoon, the sun beating down. Pi
wears his shirt wrapped around his head to hold off the heat.
PI (V.O. - CONT'D)
Hunger can change everything you
ever thought you knew about
Pi uses his knife to cut another scratch into the hull. There
are 38 scratches on the side of the lifeboat. He glances
down, staring longingly at the fish that swim just beneath
the raft, then looks across the lifeboat, where the gaff lies
hooked in the tarp close to the tiger's end of the boat.
Richard Parker is nowhere to be seen.
Pi reaches out with the boat hook to try to snag the gaff,
but it is hooked deeply into the tarp. He lays the boat hook
on the tarp and climbs aboard, crawling forward to free the
gaff. As he wiggles the hook free, Richard Parker's head pops
out from beneath the tarp only a few feet away.
Pi's winces, prepared for an attack. In an instant, he's
struck hard across the face - a stunning blow that sends him
backward onto the tarp.
Pause. Pi opens one eye. Richard Parker hasn't moved. Pi
looks down - a slender grey-blue fish with wings is flopping
about on the tarp. Pi has been hit by a flying fish.
Richard Parker has seen the flying fish as well. He rises to
his haunches. Pi grabs the flying fish and tosses it to
Here, it's yours.
The tiger stands, jaws opening in anticipation...
And then the fish extends its wings, veering at the last
second and dropping into the water. Richard Parker tries to
bat the fish down, but it's too quick for him. The tiger
turns back toward Pi with a questioning glare.
The air around the boat whirs to life as they are struck from
all directions by a school of flying fish that descends upon
them like a swarm of locusts. Some sail clear over the boat;
a number crash into the side. Other, less fortunate fish land
in the boat, where they start a racket of flapping and
flailing. Pi yelps in anguish as he is struck repeatedly.
The school of fish is being pursued through the ocean by
tuna. It is a feeding frenzy - the ocean boils with jumping
fish and snapping jaws.
Richard Parker becomes totally absorbed in the kill, leaping,
blocking, and batting down as many of the fish as he can.
A fat, three-foot long yellowfin tuna lands onboard, cracking
hard against the center bench and falling, stunned and
twitching, into the boat.
Pi sees Richard Parker's head swivel in his direction. In a
moment of insanity brought on by hunger, Pi reaches back and
grabs the boat hook from the tarp, shoving it aggressively
into the tiger's face just as Richard Parker launches
The boat hook catches Richard Parker square in the mouth; the
tiger staggers back in shock and growls in outrage. Pi rises
up to his full height, staring directly into the tiger's eyes
and shouting in fury, his gaze wide, his posture defiant.
MINE!!!! MINE!!! AHHH!!
Boy and tiger face off for several seconds, both panting,
neither blinking nor showing fear, as the rain of fish
gradually slows around them.
Richard Parker turns his focus from Pi and takes in the
situation around him. Realizing that he stands up to his
knees in a pile of flying fish, he turns his attention to a
more convenient meal.
Pi uses the gaff to snag the tuna, shoving it to the farthest
edge of the bow. As he rises, late afternoon light casts
golden flames across the surface of the water, throwing Pi
Pi picks up the boat hook and turns to face Richard Parker.
EXT. THE RAFT - SUNSET
Pi takes a small piece of tuna and gingerly raises it to his
lips, tasting flesh for the first time. A pause as he savors
the taste, considering... and then hunger takes him over. He
grabs at the tuna, stuffing pieces into his mouth, devouring
A132 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY A132
Pi uses a bandage from the first aid kit to wrap a cut on his
leg. As he works, he glances back toward the boat, deep in
I can't risk my life every time I
have to climb onto the boat for
supplies. It's time to settle this.
If we're going to live together, we
have to learn to communicate.
B132 EXT. THE RAFT - DAY B132
Pi reaches into the stern, prying loose a seven-foot strip of
wooden molding that lines the front edge of the seats.
Maybe Richard Parker cannot be
tamed, but with God's will, he can
Pi works intently with his knife, whittling the strip of
molding into a long tapered wand with a handgrip on one end.
133 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY 133
Pi crosses the tarp, approaching Richard Parker with his new
The tiger backs off as Pi approaches - curious and annoyed.
Pi uses the stick to probe into the tiger's territory,
testing his limits; Richard Parker gets angry, batting at the
stick. Pi looks away, tries again, then turns to face Richard
Parker, who growls, angry and begins batting at the stick.
Pi gives the tiger a stern glare. RP stops, stares back, then
Pi reaches into a pouch behind his back, taking out a piece
of fish. He places it on the end of the stick and reaches
out, offering it to Richard Parker, who sniffs the air.
Pi puts the fish on the bench. Richard Parker eats the fish,
then backs up, growing calmer.
Pi takes out another fish, reaches out to tap the bench, then
tosses the fish on the bench. Richard Parker takes the fish,
Pi tosses the next piece near the edge of the tarp and taps,
encouraging Richard Parker to follow his direction.
Go Richard Parker. Go. Go on home;
I'll leave you alone. I'll respect
that. I promise. Go, c'mon.
Richard Parker stares at Pi. Pi raises his arms and yells,
chasing Richard Parker around the bench and under the tarp.
Pi sits, the battle over.
137 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT/THE RAFT - DAY 137
The sun is high. Pi raises the adjustable canopy he has
rigged on his raft and sits beneath it. He feels the wind on
his face and watches Richard Parker lounge in the stern of
the lifeboat. Pi smiles, for a moment genuinely happy.
He uses his knife to carefully sharpen his pencil, then
begins writing in the margins of his survival manual, which
are covered with journal entries...
`LIFE IS GOOD' MONTAGE - Pi's raft has transformed again.
Fish strips dry on lines; he has fashioned new tools, rigged
an elaborate water collection system out of turtle shells,
and a collapsible shade umbrella.
- Pi trims his fingernails, a fish bone toothpick in his
PI (WRITING - V.O.)
I never thought a small piece of
shade could bring me so much
happiness. That a pile of tools - a
bucket, a knife, a pencil- might
become my greatest treasures. Or
that knowing Richard Parker was
here might ever bring me peace. In
times like these, I remember that
he has as little experience of the
real world as I do. We were both
raised in a zoo by the same master.
Now we've been orphaned, left to
face our ultimate master together.
Without Richard Parker, I would
have died by now. My fear of him
keeps me alert. Tending to his
needs gives my life purpose.
138 EXT. RAFT - DAY 138
A school of dolphins, hundreds of them, pass in the distance,
the blue sea roiling.
Dolphins, Richard Parker!
Just beyond the school of dolphin, something else catches
Pi's attention on the horizon - a freighter, much like the
Tsimtsum, is within a few miles of their position.
Hey! HEY!! WE'RE HERE!! OVER HERE!!
Pi scrambles to the storage locker, pulling out the flare
gun. He loads and fires - the flare arcs high up into the
air, a miniature white star leaving a bright trail of fire
and smoke as it falls to the earth.
139 EXT. RAFT - SUNSET 139
It's grown noticeably darker. The freighter is far off now.
140 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - NIGHT 140
It is late now. Pi loads the last flare into his gun and
raises it into the air - then stops. The freighter, now a
fleck on the horizon, hasn't seen them. Pi watches as the
dark form of the boat sinks from view.
Pi fires one last time, staring up at the archways of smoke
and the darkening sky. Pi lowers the flare gun. Richard
Parker yawns and turns away.
PI (WRITING - V.O.)
Above all, don't lose hope...
The flare burns a hole into the night.
141 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT, MONTHS LATER - DAY 141
HIGH ANGLE ("book cover" shot) - looking down on the boat,
adrift in the middle of the ocean. Pi lies curled on the tarp
in the bow; Richard Parker lies in the stern. Beneath the
boat, the ocean swirls with traffic, including an enormous
whale shark. It passes beneath the boat, the creature's form
blotting out the depths.
A141 ONBOARD - A141
A series of shots to show that Pi has grown gaunt, his eyes
wild from exhaustion and endless solitude. The tarp has
faded; the paint on the boat has become sun-bleached and
weather- beaten. Pi's hair has grown long; his skin has
darkened from olive-caramel to cocoa. The shirt has begun to
take on a look of thread-worn transparency.
He taps on the aluminum hull of the boat with his thumb in
time with his recitation:
EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - NIGHT
Richard Parker gazes into the distance; Pi stares intently
at the tiger.
What are you looking at...? Tell
me. What do you see?
The tiger turns and looks over the side of the boat into the
water; Pi rises and looks over the side as well, staring into
RP'S POV - starting on his own reflection in the water and
traveling downward, through schools of darting tuna, squid
and lantern fish, past fleeting memories of a storm and zoo
animals struggling to survive in churning waters and into the
darkest recesses of the sea, Pi finding a broken ship and
memories of a former life lying dormant on the ocean floor...
OUT OF POV - Richard Parker looks over at Pi as he gazes into
Cut to an extremely wide shot of the boat floating in a sea
PI (WRITING - V.O.) (CONT'D)
Words are all I have left to hang
147 EXT. LIFEBOAT - DAY 147
Pi's fingers tremble as he writes in his manual, the tiny
cramped letters barely legible, every white surface of the
PI (WRITING - V.O.)
Everything mixed up, fragmented.
Can't tell daydreams, night dreams
from reality anym --
The lead in his tiny stub of a pencil runs out, worn to a nub
of wood. Pi slowly puts down his pencil, brooding.
148 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY 148
Pi lies on the tarp, his position nearly unchanged, beating a
drum rhythm on the hull, a wreck of conflicted thoughts and
We hear a distant rumble of thunder. Pi raises his head. Dark
thunderclouds rise up over the horizon blackening the
heavens. Another rumble of thunder, this one closer.
Storm! Storm, Richard Parker!
149 EXT. LIFEBOAT - DAY 149
Pi takes down the canopy on the raft. Pi begins quickly
stowing his gear in the storage bench, beneath the tarp.
Richard Parker flees to the safety of his den under the tarp.
As Pi stows gear, he remembers his manual and takes it out
from his waistband.
The storm front sweeps across the ocean in a squall line,
high winds and rain striking Pi and the lifeboat with
tremendous force. The manual slips from his hands and Pi is
knocked off his feet and into the water. He lifts his head
out of the water in time to watch the manual flying off into
The manual is gone. Pi ties himself to the lifeboat with a
rope from the raft.
150 EXT. LIFEBOAT - DAY 150
a stunning display of clouds and lightning fills the sky, as
Pi looks on in awe. The sky lights up, a vivid white splinter
of lightning crashing down from the sky, puncturing the water
near the lifeboat. The water is shot through with what looks
like the white roots of an enormous celestial tree; the clap
of thunder is tremendous.
Praise be to God, Lord of All
Worlds, the Compassionate, the
A wave washes Pi off of the tarp and onto the floor of the
boat. Pi climbs onto the bench. He looks up in wonder at the
sky, overwhelmed by the magnificence of the roiling clouds.
It's beautiful... Where are you,
Richard Parker? You have to see
Another angle: he begins unbuttoning the tarp, calling
excitedly to Richard Parker.
Come out Richard Parker! Come see
the hand of God!
Pi continues to unfasten the tarp.
Don't hide yourself! He's come to
us! It's a miracle!
A huge wave envelopes the lifeboat, submerging the craft
completely - and then the boat pops to the surface like a
cork. Pi resumes opening the tarp. He tears it aside,
exposing the terrified animal to the storm.
COME OUT AND SEE GOD RICHARD
The sky lights up all around them. The tiger begins roaring,
pawing at the air, eyes wide, crazed with fear. Pi turns to
face the storm.
WHY ARE YOU SCARING HIM! I'VE LOST
MY FAMILY - I'VE LOST EVERYTHING! I
SURRENDER! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?
A wave washes Pi overboard, and the raft comes crashing down
on top of the lifeboat, then slides away. Pi climbs back on
board. He lies on the bench, coming to his senses, realizing
the extent of the danger they face. He sees Richard Parker
cowering miserably at the stern.
I'm sorry Richard Parker!
Pi crawls to the bow in time to see the raft, no longer tied
to the lifeboat, drifting away. Pounded by rain and surf, he
works his way around the edge of the boat, re-hooking the
tarp to tarp hooks. With only four left unfastened along one
side, he pulls himself under the tarp.
151 INT. THE LIFEBOAT, UNDER THE TARP - CONTINUOUS 151
Thunder, rain and surf hammer the tarp from above; Pi pulls
himself under the tarp. Richard Parker's grunts and labored
breathing can be heard, but man and beast are only fully
visible when lightning strikes, Pi trying to stay as far away
from the tiger as he can manage. Before long the boat is
tossing Pi and the tiger as though in a washing machine, the
two helplessly colliding with one another, Pi choking as
water splashes in.
152 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY 152
Pi wakes in the sloshing water under the tarp. Sunlight
filters in from above. The storm has passed. Richard Parker
lies listlessly in the side bench. Pi climbs out of the
waterlogged hull. A double rainbow pierces majestic clouds,
the sun breaking through.
153 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - DAY 153
The gentle sound of water lapping at the side of the
lifeboat; the breeze rattling the tarp. Time has passed;
life on the boat has grown tougher for Pi, his supplies more
meager, since the raft was lost.
Pi lies in the bow, exhausted, delirious. He pulls himself
upright, takes a drink of water and looks around, confused.
Richard Parker lies in the stern of the boat, severely
emaciated, his coat dull, his eyes clouded. Shivering, Pi
uses the last of his strength to drag himself over to the
tiger. The animal's body is curled, his tail flat. Some of
his fur has fallen away from his shoulders and haunches. He's
a skeleton in an oversized bag of fur. Pi reaches out to
place a hand on the tiger. He gently touches him on one spot.
We're dying, Richard Parker. I'm
Pi sits and places the tiger's head on his lap.
Amma, Appa, Ravi - I'm happy I'm
going to see you soon.
Can you feel the rain?
Richard Parker raises his head slightly; his tail twitches.
God, thank you for giving me my
life. I'm ready now.
158 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT/THE ISLAND - DAY 158
Pi lies, unconscious, in the bow of the lifeboat. Waves lap
at the sides of the boat, which presses against the shore of
A gust of wind blows across Pi's face, tousling his hair. Pi
gradually opens his eyes. A beat. He tips his head back.
Pi's POV - above and behind him, the tops of trees.
Pi turns, looking at the island, amazed. The trees have a
pale bark with an amazing profusion of leaves, their color
burning with a neon-like intensity. There is no sand; instead
the ground is an intricate, tightly webbed mass of tube-
shaped seaweed, about two fingers in diameter.
Pi turns to look back to the stern; he calls under the tarp.
Pi rises, stepping out of the boat. The seaweed is rubbery -
uncertain ground. His legs are wobbly. He hooks the gaff on a
root and falls to the ground. Pi tears up a piece of the
seaweed and examines it. He takes an experimental bite. Soon
he's grabbing handfuls of the seaweed, eating as fast as he
Pi climbs the ridge on unsteady legs. A forest comes into
view with nearly symmetrical ponds dotting the island here
and there, many of them reaching 40 feet in diameter.
Half the island seems to be covered with meerkats - thousands
of them standing together in groups all over the island. The
moment the first of the meerkats notices Pi, it turns and
stands on its hind legs - and the others immediately follow
EXT. THE ISLAND - DAY
Pi walks slowly forward, taking in the meerkats and the
island. Gradually, the meerkats return to all fours - their
squeaking and barking noises coming and going in waves
throughout the herd. They pay him so little attention that Pi
has to shove them aside with his legs in order to walk.
Excuse me... Go on, move!
Pi walks beyond the throng of meerkats toward a pond, pausing
to examine the fish bones that litter the edge of one of the
ponds. The edge is steep; he gets too close, slips down the
side and into the water. Pi tastes the water. He begins a
gentle, blissful breaststroke across the pond.
Pi hears a commotion. He lifts himself up to peer over at the
meerkats. In the distance, Richard Parker blazes a trail
through the meerkats, catching, pinning and eating as many as
he can. Pi smiles, watching the tiger.
164 EXT. THE TREE - SUNSET 164
Pi sits cradled in a nest of branches, rigging a hammock. As
the last rays of the sun disappear, he hears a commotion
below on the island and pushes aside branches to see better.
The meerkats are abandoning the ponds, scurrying up onto land
and running for the forest, their collective stampede noisier
than a herd of elephants. Richard Parker, in the meantime,
runs for the shoreline, scrambling down the ridge as fast as
possible and leaping into the lifeboat.
The trunk beneath Pi is swarmed as meerkats settle upon all
the branches in the tree. Several invade Pi's hammock,
sitting on him, climbing over him, making themselves
comfortable at his expense.
Hey! Hey! Hey c'mon. Hey! Hey-get
away. This is my bed!
Pi shoves them off as best he can and settles in for the
165 EXT. UP IN THE TREE - NIGHT 165
Pi sleeps, nestled in the branches of the tree.
Meerkats snore - at least one of them in the branches beneath
Pi does. Pi wakes up, staring grumpily into the darkness at
the noisy offender.
He is amazed to discover that what he can see of the island
from his perch is bioluminescent. The leaves of the tree
around him and the seaweed below all glow in gentle greens,
while the ponds beneath seem to shimmer like liquid silver -
it is a scene at once beautiful and threatening.
Pi hears a burbling noise coming from the pond at the center
of the tree. He looks down; fish bubble to the surface. One
of the larger fish writhes in agony at the surface before
falling still along with the others.
Pi watches as the water below begins churning with the bodies
of the dead fish, the surface of the water aswirl with the
flash of fins - then gradually the fish begin to disappear,
as though slowly dissolving in the water. Pi stares at the
mysterious pool, then looks out over the island to where the
lifeboat is anchored along shore -
Richard Parker is visible, sitting in the boat, staring up at
166 EXT. THE LIFEBOAT - NIGHT 166
CLOSE ON RICHARD PARKER staring into the night.
168 EXT. LIFEBOAT - NIGHT 168
WIDE ANGLE - looking over the tiger's shoulder, taking in the
entire island. From this distance, it looks - and sounds - as
though the island is gently expanding and contracting with
the tides... as though it is breathing.
169 EXT. UP IN THE TREE - NIGHT 169
Pi notices fruit growing on one of the branches above his
head. He looks around at the rest of the tree, but the fruit
only seems to grow along the one branch. Pi plucks one of the
fruits and examines it. Each stem that he pulls causes a leaf
to peel off. He reaches the center of the ball, peeling back
the last of the leaves, to reveal a tooth.
170 INT. PI'S HOME, MONTREAL - LATE AFTERNOON 170
It was human tooth?
Don't you see, the island was
Carnivorous? Like... a Venus
Yes, the whole island - the plants,
the water in those pools, the very
ground itself. During the day,
those pools held fresh water, but
at night, some chemical process
turned the water in those pools
into acid - acid that dissolved
those fish, that sent the meerkats
scurrying into the trees and
Richard Parker running to the boat.
But where did the tooth come from?
Years ago, some poor fellow just
like me must have found himself
stranded on that island.... And
like me he thought he might stay
there forever. But all that the
island gave him by day, it took
away again by night. To think - how
many hours spent with only meerkats
for company? How much loneliness
ADULT PI (CONT'D)
All I know is that eventually he
died, and the island digested him,
leaving behind only his teeth. I
saw how my life would end if I
stayed on that island. Alone and
forgotten. I had to go back to the
world, or die trying.
171 EXT. ISLAND/LIFEBOAT - DAY 171
Pi loads the boat with water and meerkats; the tarp is piled
high with roots and seaweed.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
I spent the next day preparing the
boat. I filled my stores with fresh
water, ate seaweed until my stomach
could take no more, and brought as
many meerkats as I could fit into
the storage locker for Richard
Parker. I couldn't leave without
him, of course - it would mean
killing him. And so I waited for
his return. I knew he wouldn't be
He blows his whistle, calling:
172 EXT. THE ISLAND/LIFEBOAT - SUNSET 172
Richard Parker runs down the ridge and jumps into the stern.
Pi climbs aboard and shoves off.
173 EXT. OCEAN NEAR ISLAND - LIFEBOAT - SUNSET 173
Pi and the tiger watch as the island recedes into the
distance, lit by the late afternoon sun.
No one has ever seen that floating
island since; you won't read about
those trees in any nature book. And
yet if I hadn't found those shores,
I would have died. And if I hadn't
discovered that tooth, I would have
been lost, alone forever.
PI (V.O) (CONT'D)
Even when God seemed to have
abandoned me, He was watching.
Even when He seemed indifferent to
my suffering, He was watching. And
when I was beyond all hope of
saving, He gave me rest, then gave
me a sign to continue my journey.
177 EXT. THE MEXICAN COAST/THE JUNGLE - DAY 177
Pi leans over the side of the lifeboat. He falls overboard.
We follow him underwater, his feet - hit a sandy bottom.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
By the time we reached the Mexican
shore, I was afraid to let go of
the boat. My strength was gone. I
was so weak. I was afraid that in
two feet of water, so close to
deliverance, I would drown. I
struggled to shore and fell upon
the sand. It was warm and soft,
like pressing my face against the
cheek of God. And somewhere two
eyes were smiling at having me
An empty coastline, nothing but sand, rocks and jungle. Pi
struggles to bring the lifeboat ashore. Richard Parker is
hiding under the tarp, nowhere to be seen. Pi pulls the
painter line until the boat is on the beach, then collapses
on the sand.
177 EXT. THE MEXICAN COAST/THE JUNGLE - DAY 177
Pi collapses on the beach. He hears Richard Parker coming a
moment before he sees him; Pi turns, looking up as the tiger
jumps over the boy, stretching in the air above him and
landing in the water ahead of him.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
I was so spent I couldn't move. And
so Richard Parker went ahead of me.
Richard Parker walks along the beach, his gait clumsy and
uncoordinated from so much time spent at sea.
ADULT PI (V.O.)
He stretched his legs and walked
along the shore.
Richard Parker stops, staring ahead into the forest, his back
to the boy. Pi watches the tiger from behind, Richard
Parker's ribs gently rising and falling as he smells the
ADULT PI (V.O.)
At the edge of the jungle, he
stopped. I was certain he was going
to look back at me, flatten his
ears to his head, growl - that he'd
bring our relationship to an end in
some way. But he just stared ahead
into the jungle.
178 INT. PI'S HOME, DINING ROOM, MONTREAL - SUNSET 178
On Adult Pi alone:
And then Richard Parker, my fierce
companion, the terrible one who
kept me alive, disappeared forever
from my life.
181 EXT. THE MEXICAN COAST/THE JUNGLE - DAY 181
Pi lies on the sand a few yards from the water. A group of
six MEXICAN LOCALS hurry down the beach to him.
After a few hours, a member of my
own species found me. He left and
returned with a group who carried
Pi sobs uncontrollably as they carry him to safety.
ADULT PI (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I wept like a child, not because I
was overwhelmed at having survived,
although I was. I was weeping
because Richard Parker left me
so... unceremoniously. It broke my
174 INT. PI'S HOME - DINING ROOM - MONTREAL - NEAR SUNSET 174
It is near sunset, the light from the windows casting theroom
in a golden hue - the same lighting we have just seen as Pi
was leaving the island.
You know, my father was right.
Richard Parker never saw me as his
friend. After all we'd been
through, he didn't even look back.
But I have to believe that there
was more in his eyes than my own
reflection staring back at me. I
know I felt it - even if I can't
prove it. I just wish...
(Beat. He sighs.)
You know, I've left so much behind.
My family, the zoo, Anandi, India -
I suppose in the end the whole of
life becomes an act of letting go.
But what always hurts the most is
not taking the moment to say
goodbye. I was never able to thank
my father for all I learned from
him, to tell him that without his
lessons I would never have
And I know he's a tiger, but I wish
I'd said: 'It's over. We've
survived. Thank you for saving my
life. I love you, Richard Parker.
You will always be with me. May God
be with you.'
The Writer shakes his head, astonished.
I don't know what to say.
Hard to believe, isn't it?
A pause as the writer decides how to respond.
It is a lot to take in, to figure
out what it all means.
If it happened, it happened. Why
should it have to mean anything?
Well, some of it is pretty
Pi nods - a half-smile - then rises, crossing to the
I was the only one who survived the
shipwreck, so the Japanese shipping
company sent two men to talk to me
in the Mexican hospital where I was
recovering. I still have a copy of
Pi takes a tattered notebook out of the bookcase.
ADULT PI (CONT'D)
They had insurance claims to
settle, and they wanted to find out
why the ship sank. They didn't
believe me either.
Pi hands the notebook to the Writer. On top, there is a
newspaper article with the headline "BOY RESCUED: 227 DAYS IN
THE PACIFIC." The Writer unclips the article, revealing the
insurance report beneath. We hear Okamoto's first line over
A175 INT. INFIRMARY - MEXICO, 1978 - DAY A175
Thousands of meerkats? On a
floating carnivorous island? And no
one has ever seen it?
Yes. Just like I told you.
Bananas don't float.
Why are you talking about bananas?
You said the orangutan floated to
you on a bundle of bananas. But
bananas don't float.
Are you sure about that?
Of course they do. Try it for
In any case, we are not here to
talk about bananas or meerkats.
I've just told you a long story.
I'm very tired.
We're here because a Japanese cargo
ship sank in the Pacific.
Something I never forget. I lost my
Get him some water.
We don't mean to push you. And you
have our deepest sympathies. But
we've come a long way. And we're no
closer to understanding why the
Because I don't know. I was asleep.
Something woke me up. It may have
been an explosion; I can't be sure.
And then the ship sank. What else
do you want from me?
A story that won't make us look
We need a simpler story for our
report. One our company can
understand. A story we can all
(Chiba gives Pi a glass of
So.... a story without things you
never seen before.
Without surprises. Without animals
Yes. The truth.
B175 INT. PI'S HOME, MONTREAL - DAY B175
So what did you do?
I told him another story. Four of
YOUNG PI (V.O. - OVERLAPPING)
Four of us survived...
C175 INT. INFIRMARY, MEXICO, 1978 - DAY C175
...The cook and the sailor were
already onboard. The cook threw me
a lifebuoy and pulled me aboard.
Mother held onto some bananas and
made it to the lifeboat. The cook,
the cook was a disgusting man. He
ate a rat. We had food enough for
weeks, but he found the rat in the
first few days - and he killed it,
and dried it in the sun and ate it.
He was such a brute, that man. But
he was resourceful. It was his idea
to build the raft to catch fish. We
would have died in those first few
days without him. The sailor was
the same man who brought rice with
gravy, the Buddhist. We didn't
understand much of what he said,
only that he was suffering. I can
still hear him - the happy Buddhist
who only ate rice with gravy. He
had broken his leg horribly in the
fall. We tried to set it as best we
could, but the leg became infected
and the cook told us we had to do
something or he'd die. The cook
said he'd do it, but mother and I
had to hold the man down. And I
believed him - we needed to do it.
YOUNG PI (CONT'D)
So... I kept saying, "I'm sorry, I'm
sorry", but he just kept.. looking
at me, his eyes so... I'll never
understand the point of that man's
suffering. We didn't save him, of
course. He died. The morning after,
the cook caught his first dorado,
and I didn't understand what he'd
done at first, but Mother did, and
I'd never seen her so angry. 'Stop
whining and be happy,' he said. "We
need more food or we'll die. That
was the whole point.' 'What was the
point?' Mother asked. "You let that
poor boy die in order to get bait?
You monster!' The cook got furious.
He started towards her with his
fists raised, and Mother slapped
him hard, right across the face. I
was stunned. I thought he was going
to kill her right then. But he
didn't. The cook didn't stop at
bait either, no. The sailor, he
went the same way the rat went -
the cook was a resourceful man. It
was a week later that he... Because
of me. Because I couldn't hold onto
a stupid turtle. It slipped out of
my hands and swam away and the cook
came up and punched me on the side
of the head and my teeth clacked
and I saw stars. I thought he was
going to hit me again, but then
Mother started pounding on him with
her fists and screaming, "MONSTER!
MONSTER!" She yelled at me to go to
the raft - "Nee poda!" I thought
she was coming with me or I'd never
have... I don't know why I didn't
make her go first. I think about
that every day. I jumped over and
turned back just as the knife came
out. There wasn't anything I could
do; I couldn't look away... He
threw her body overboard. Then the
sharks came. I saw what they... I
saw. The next day I killed him. He
didn't even fight back. He knew he
had gone too far, even by his
standards. He'd left the knife out
on the bench. And I did to him what
he did to the sailor. He was such
an evil man, but worse still, he
brought the evil out in me.
YOUNG PI (CONT'D)
I have to live with that. I was
alone in a lifeboat, drifting
across the Pacific Ocean. And I
176 INT. PI'S HOME - DINING ROOM - MONTREAL - SUNSET 176
After that, no more questions. The
investigators didn't seem to like
the story, exactly - but they
thanked me, they wished me well,
and they left.
Pause. The Writer speaks his thoughts aloud as the
So... the stories... Both the zebra
and the sailor broke their leg. And
the hyena killed the zebra and the
orangutan. So ... the hyena is the
cook. And the sailor is the zebra,
mother is the orangutan... and
you're... the tiger.
Can I ask you something?
I've told you two stories about
what happened out on the ocean.
Neither explains what caused the
sinking of the ship, and no one can
prove which story is true and which
is not. In both stories, the ship
sinks, my family dies, and I
So which story do you prefer?
The story with the tiger. That's
the better story.
Thank you. And so it goes with God.
(Pause. He looks up.)
Mamaji was right. It is an amazing
story. Will you really let me write
Of course. Isn't that why Mamaji
sent you here, after all?
They hear a car pulling into the alleyway alongside the
ADULT PI (CONT'D)
My wife is here. Would you like to
stay for dinner? She's an
I didn't know you had a wife.
And a cat, and two children.
So your story does have a happy
Well, that's up to you. The story's
The Writer smiles. Outside, car doors slam; we hear voices as
Pi's wife and children cross around to the front. Pi rises
and moves to the door. The Writer glances one final time at
the report. He flips the page and hesitates, reading the last
few lines aloud.
"Mr. Patel's is an astounding story
of courage and endurance
unparalleled in the history of
shipwrecks. Very few castaways can
claim to have survived so long at
sea, and none in the company of...
(He looks up at Pi)
...an adult Bengal tiger."
We have a guest. Let me introduce
THE WRITER stands and faces Pi. We see his POV - on Pi,
holding his daughter in arms, surrounded by his family,
183 EXT. THE MEXICAN COAST/THE JUNGLE - DAY 183
YOUNG PI'S POV of Richard Parker from behind as he stares
into the jungle, the tiger's ribs gently rising and falling
as he smells the jungle air - and then he walks forward and
disappears into the swaying trees.
The moment that the tiger is out of view, all the color
drains out of Pi's world; his view of the trees loses all
dimension and fades to black and white as we...
FADE TO BLACK.