Liger Rating 1.5/5 & Rating
LIGER is the story of a born fighter. ligers (Vijay Deverakonda) moves to Mumbai from Banaras with his mother Balamani (Ramya Krishnan) and both start running a tea stall. Her real intention in moving to town, however, is to meet Christopher (Ronit Roy). He runs a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training center. Balamani asks Christopher to train Liger, again for free. Christopher initially rejects the request. But Balamani reminds him that Liger is the son of Lion Balram, a famous fighter who defeated Christopher in 2004 and later died. She also insists that Christopher can hire Liger as his servant since she cannot afford his fees. Christopher agrees, but on two conditions – first, Liger shouldn’t lose focus and second, he shouldn’t chase after the women. Liger agrees. Christopher quickly realizes that Liger is a skilled fighter and can fulfill his father’s wish of winning the national championship. However, Liger comes across Taniya (Ananya Panday) and both begin a romantic relationship. Liger has a severe stutter and he worries that Taniya might not be aware of it. Liger once confessed to her when they were partying in a pub. But Taniya, in a drunken state, tells Liger that she doesn’t mind his stutter. Meanwhile, one day, Taniya and Balamani get into an argument. Balamani gets the shock of her life when she realizes that Liger is in love with the girl she hates the most. Even Christopher admonishes him. Liger is so in love that he doesn’t pay attention. When Taniya tells him to flee, Liger readily agrees. He breaks into her house and runs with her. Taniya’s brother and MMA championship contender Sanju (Vishu Reddy) chases her and confronts Liger. Sanju is shocked that Taniya has fallen in love with a man who can’t even speak fluently. At that moment, Taniya notices that Liger is stuttering. Although Liger had told her the truth, she was so drunk she didn’t remember. So she drops him. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Puri Jagannadh’s story (co-written by Karan Thatavarthy, AR Sreedhar) is cliche. There have been many such underdog sports films in the past and LIGER offers nothing new in this regard. Puri Jagannadh’s script is intended to be bulky and commercial. A few scenes here and there are well thought out. But overall the film is riddled with very silly moments and the writing style falters in the second half. Prashant Pandey’s Hindi dialogues are okay.
Puri Jagannadh’s direction is not up to date. To give credit, he did well on some scenes like Liger’s intro fight, Taniya sneaking into Liger’s house, Liger’s first fight with Chirstopher’s MMA trainers, and Liger’s fight on the train. But the scenes in the rest of the film fail to impress as they aren’t well etched or just plain bizarre like Taniya not realizing her boyfriend has a stutter. In places, Puri even leaves gaps and jumps right into the narrative. Some scenes are such that viewers would wonder how they were approved.
LIGER begins excitingly and with stylishly presented opening credits. A few opening scenes are okay, but as mentioned above, the poor directing spoils things. For example, the police station scene is never shown after the commuter sequence. Second, how Liger broke into Taniya’s house and escaped with her is simply implied, but would have had a better effect if depicted. On the other hand, when Christopher criticizes Sanju for not having ethics, the audience is confused. However, Christopher’s own student started the fight with Sanju’s men by showing his middle finger! Then the scene where Taniya claims Liger is a drama queen would leave viewers amazed as she is the one who left him. Also, the break point will shock the audience because of its pointlessness. While there’s a reason Taniya is dropping Liger, which will be revealed later, it’s still not a compelling watch. One hopes that the film will get better in the second half. Unfortunately, it’s so bad that viewers would realize the first half was better. The way Liger wins the national championship and then even reaches international shores to compete in the international league seemed like a no-brainer. The last act with Taniya’s kidnapping and the scene with Mark Anderson (Mike Tyson) is unimpressive. The fight scene with the fighters was futile. The film ends abruptly as Liger forgets about winning the international championship after meeting Mark Anderson.
Cola 2.0 | Ligers | Vijay Deverakonda, Ananya Panday
Vijay Deverakonda has put in a lot of hard work. He looks quite dashing and tries to rise above the script. Ananya Panday is given to play a very childish character. Ramya Krishnan is fine, but you see her screaming a lot in the film for no reason. Mike Tyson is absolutely fine in the cameo. Ronit Roy leaves traces. Vishu Reddy is overdone as a typical villain. Ali (Ali bhai) is average. Makarand Deshpande is too loud. Chunky Panday is fine. Getup Srinu (Ganpath) is funny.
The music doesn’t work as it’s not of chartbuster variety. ‘Aafat’ is the most memorable of the crowd, followed by “Waat Laga Denge”. ‘Mankhali’ is well illustrated. ‘Akdi-Pakdi’ and ‘Coke 2.0’ are forced into the narrative. ‘Attack’ is pushed into the background. Sunil Kashyap’s background music has a commercial feel to it.
The cinematography of Vishnu Sarma is neat. The action from Kecha Khamphakdee and Andy Long is pretty good, especially in the first half. Jonny Shaik Basha’s production design is rich. Anil Paduri’s VFX is appropriate. Junaid Siddiqui’s editing is fine.
Overall, LIGER fails to impress due to its silly and bizarre narrative and poor writing style. At the box office, it becomes difficult to attract audiences to the cinemas.