Taiwanese-American Ang Lee beat
master directors like Steven Spielberg and Michael Haneke to
take home the best director Oscar for Life of Pi, his
visually stunning 3D tale of an Indian boy adrift in the ocean
for months with a Bengal tiger.
With his second Oscar win, Lee brings focus back to
India, whose culture and ethos are an important part of the
narrative and unlike previous Academy-winner Slumdog
Millionaire which earned some brickbats for promoting slum
porn, Lee has presented Pondicherry and Munnar beautifully
through his 3D lenses.
Ang Lee, 58, beat Spielberg (Lincoln), Haneke (Amour),
David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and indie
filmmaker Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) to win
his second Academy in the directing category.
"I really need to share this with everybody who worked in
Life of Pi. I need to thank Yann Martel for writing this
marvelous book...," Lee said in his speech before ending it
with a 'Namaste'.
The auteur, a five-time Oscar nominee, previously won the
trophy for his 2005 gay cowboys drama Brokeback Mountain.
Like Life of Pi, his Crouching Tiger, Hiden Dragon was
nominated for best picture and directing honours.
In the film, an adaptation of Yann Martel's Booker-prize
winning novel, Lee took on the challenge of filming the movie,
mostly set in the ocean, with an almost entirely Indian casts
of newcomer Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Adil Hussain.
He spent four years translating the book to the screen
that included building an enormous wave tank to shoot ocean
scenes besides creating a terrifyingly believable tiger
through the help of CGI.
The movie narrates the story of Pi, a zookeeper's son in
Pondicherry, who finds the world he knows swept away
when his family is killed in a storm while on their way to
Canada. Pi escapes, set adrift in a lifeboat that is also the
refuge of an enormous Bengal tiger.
Lee made several trips, including one to promote the
film, to India to research and cast the movie. He chose the
then 17-year-old newcomer Suraj Sharma to play the lead from 3000
In an interview to PTI during his trip to Mumbai, Lee had
said that he felt a sense of belonging to Pi's journey, which
somehow mirrored his own struggles to direct the technically
The filmmaker, who is behind genre-defying movies like
Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,
Hulk and Brokeback Mountain, also credited destiny for
bringing the movie to him after it changed hands with many
"When I started doing the movie I felt like I had a sense
of belonging. I started longing to be a part of it and the
movie became mine," Lee had said.