The chicken or the egg debate.

This morning, I was talking to my friend – the film buff (let’s refer to her as that for the time being) about the new movie everyone is raving about – Life of Pi. I have seen the trailers and I really, really, REALLY want to watch the movie. But I’m still reading the novel and do not wish to spoil it by watching it and finishing off the story within 2 hours.

Now, film buff friend said that it would make sense to watch the movie first and then read the book. Since the movie has a lot of nice effects. She also said that since I haven’t read the book yet, I would not compare it to the movie (and in the process crib about the scenes they have changed or the lines they have altered or even the parts they have missed). She is a dear friend – and knows much more about movies than half of all my other friends put together. I trust her judgement on movies. She also has a lovely blog where she has reviewed the movie.

But at the same time, my logic does not seem flawed to me. The book was written first. It is meant to be read first.

Even if I don’t follow the chronological reasoning, I know once I watch the movie – even though it isn’t a suspense thriller, I would know how it goes. The ending is not my concern. But for every good book – I enjoy reading through it! It is like the saying goes “The journey matters, not the end”.

I would probably like reading it once more after I have seen the movie – in case I miss something the first time around. But if I don’t? What if the magic just ends there. And I come across thinking Pi Patel is the guy on screen. To me, Harry Potter has never been Dan Radcliffe. No matter how much I liked some of the HP movies. The characters in the movies have not always stayed true to my imagination. And I just chose my imagination over that of the directors.

Not to mention the fact that I will end up not finishing the book if I watch the movie first. And will wait for 2 years to forget most of the movie before I can pick up the novel again.

But maybe she makes sense too? A true film buff she is!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sreetama says:

    That goes with me too! Read the book first, movie later. But I can’t follow this every time. Now when I write this comment, i realize that I’ve read the book after watching the movie in most of the cases, like The Namesake, Devil Wears Prada etc.

    1. @Sreetama: I see how that happens to most of us. I usually try to not watch a movie before reading about it. Or if I do, I’m then left a bit disappointed. Except for two movies that I remember – ‘Namesake’ and ‘Masoom’ (the old N. Shah- Shabana Azmi movie which was based on Man, woman and Child).

      1. Sreetama says:

        Satyajit Ray is another director who created magic in his movies based on a book/novel (Apu Trilogy, Nashtaneer etc.)

  2. Read the book. Have a nice long spiritually enlightening chat about the meaning of the book with your film buff friend. Save your money on the movie. Unfortunately I found it to be eye candy that glossed over the entire meaning of the story (stories) and reduced the point of the exercise to a single, ambiguous line.

    1. shibangidas says:

      Hi there.
      Cinema is a visual medium and while I do admit that the constraints of time have forced a lot of films to remain not as well explained/explored as their written counterparts, both mediums should be looked at differently and should be judged on different parameters.
      Have David Magee and Ang Lee grasped the essence and the brought across the message of the book successfully, if not as deeply? I think, Yes. That aside, the basic belief that the book was unfilmable has been successfully challenged. That, in itself, shows the film’s and the filmmaker’s achievement.
      Regards, The film buff friend

  3. Avi says:

    Not all movies based on novels turn out to be good or are able to do justice. ‘Life of Pi’ (in 3D) could be an exception though. Personally, i loved reading the book few year’s back when i picked it up since it was a Manbooker prize winner. It sure had a plot of a Hollywood blockbuster! Manbooker reminds me of Aravind Adiga’s’The White Tiger’, that one was funny to the hilt.

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