The protagonist Pi Patel is a young Indian boy, and Ang Lee has taken a considerable risk in casting an absolutely unknown first-time actor in the role. A student of Delhi University, Suraj Sharma was selected in an audition and cast as the lead actor.
In an interview featured on this site, Suraj said that acting in the film was a life changing experience.
'It has really changed me and how I perceive the entire world in many ways,' he said.
He had to train with rats and swim for four to five hours every day. Quite a gruelling experience for a 16 year old boy.