Liger Movie Review | Filmfare.com


critic’s rating:



2.5/5

Liger is supposed to be South superstar Vijay Deverakonda’s big Bollywood debut. Does he really need it, considering his dubbed films from him are already a hit over OTT? The film was unfortunately stuck in production hell, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and one can see that the gaps really affected it. It doesn’t live up to the hype it generated. Vijay Deverakonda has a certain screen presence and can surely act; there has never been any dispute about that. And he was a fighter an amazing physical transformation to look like a professional MMA fighter.

Liger (Vijay Deverakonda) is called that because his father, who was a fighter himself, was called Lion Balaram. His mother, Balamani (Ramya Krishna), identifies herself as a tigress, so he’s a crossbreed between a lion and a tiger, hence Liger, get it? Balamani sure is a tiger mom who wants her son to be even bigger and better than her father. So she lands up in Mumbai and requests a famed MMA coach, played by Ronit Roy, to take him as a pupil. Liger is naturally gifted that he beats up all the students of his master on the first try. Both his coach and his mother, time and again, tell him to stay away from women, but he predictably falls in love with a spoiled rich brat, Tanya (Ananya Panday), who is a social media influencer. Though, in a hilarious twist, she rejects him because he suffers from a speech disorder. But wait, near the end, it’s revealed that she was only acting to hate him, so he’ll hate her and that hate will fuel her ambition to be the number one MMA fighter. Talk about reverse psychology or something. In due course of time, Liger becomes the national champion, and then, thanks to a rich patron, lands in America for the international championship. The patron’s daughter, who turns out to be Tanya, gets kidnapped, so Liger goes on a rescue mission, obviously. And lo and behold, the man behind the kidnapping turns out to be Liger’s childhood hero, Mark Henderson (Mike Tyson), the former undisputed MMA heavyweight champion. By this time, things get so convoluted that you really don’t care what’ll be served up next.

The fight choreography is excellent indeed. Whether it’s the fight scenes in the gym, in the ring, or with Mike Tyson, every fight sequence is crafted intelligently. Though it’s hard to fathom how Vijay Deverakonda can beat someone as huge and solid as Mike Tyson. Still, the action scenes are slick and the best thing about the film. And Vijay Deverakonda has worked hard to get his kicks, punches, and fighting stance right. He looks every inch an MMA fighter. But even his well-oiled, well-muscled shoulders are not enough to save this film from faltering. Ramya Krishnan shows spark in her role dela as the mother, Ronit Roy tries hard to channel his inner dele Mr. Miyagi, and Ananya Panday tries to be the cool influencer but is done in by bad writing.

All-in-all, Liger is a case of missed opportunities. Vijay Deverakonda is a genuine star and certainly could have hoped for a better film than Liger to be his Bollywood debut. Even his infinite charm and dedication are not enough to uplift it.

Trailer : Liger

Neeshita Nyayapati, August 25, 2022, 10:00 PM IST


critic’s rating:



2.0/5


Light Story: THE chai wala from Mumbai wants to make it big in the sport of MMA. But when he falls in love, his life takes the turn.

Liger Review: Puri Jagannadh’s light had so much hype surrounding it before release, there’s only two ways it could’ve gone. Either it would go on to become a massive hit or tank spectacularly. Seeing as how the film fails to offer anything novel, beyond Vijay Deverakonda’s new buff body, it’s not hard to guess how it fared.
The foul-mouthed, stammering, Liger (Vijay Deverakonda) is brought up by a single mom Balamani (Ramya Krishnan) who wants her son to become an MMA fighter, jeet kune do in particular, much like his father. She takes him to Mumbai to train under a famous coach (Ronit Roy) in hope that he wins the national championships. So this film is a sports drama, right? no. Despite being asked to stay focused, Liger falls for a social media influencer called Tanya (Ananya Panday) who pursues him relentlessly after she sees him fight. The only issue? She’s the sister of his nemesis Sanju (Vishu). So, this is the love story of a rich girl and a poor boy, right? no. Then there’s Mark Anderson (Mike Tyson), Liger’s childhood hero, who’s brought into the fold in the most outlandish manner. Then this is mindless commercial cinema, right? Yes, unfortunately it’s not a very good one.

Puri has never been high on logic but he makes his characters so…’stupid’, as Mike calls Liger in one scene, you can’t help but wonder why smarter writing wasn’t involved. Despite being the sister of a martial artist, Tanya calls Liger ‘Chinese’ for fighting the way he does, calls his martial art form ‘kung fu’ and is so surprised to see him land kicks. Are we to believe she never saw her own brother her fight in a ring or even she knows which martial art he practices? Balamani warns her son to stay away from ‘deyyalu‘ (demons), categorizing women as beautiful temptresses who’ll ruin his life. The way these scenes are written makes you cringe. While it’s good that Puri holds back from going all out on the misogyny (a teeny tiny little bit), as he’s usually prone to do, he can’t help but ruin one well-choreographed fight scene involving women and one which sees Ananya and her friends with crass dialogues. Also, why is a professional MMA fighter surprised that women can krav maga in 2022?

Putting lack of logic aside, light fails to leave a mark because there’s simply no innovativeness in the way it’s written. The film follows the usual template of a sports drama, mixed with commercial cinema – which is fine, but it just isn’t done well. Sunil Kashyap’s background score and Vishnu Sharma’s camerawork are stylish, but that too doesn’t hold your interest for long. Vijay dances his heart out in Akdi Pakdi and Coke 2.0 but the songs are a misfit in a tale like this one. Rest of the songs, especially the problematic aafat are a miss, so are some of the fight scenes. Even Liger’s stammering is used as a convenient plot device.

Coming to the only good part about this film – Vijay Deverakonda. His dialogues, especially because he stammers, might be a hit-and-miss but the actor sure brings sincerity to his role. Liger, his character, is very one-toned. The way his coach and mom (the latter more than the former) are prone to give long speeches, you wonder if the character will go through any growth, which never happens. despite being a chai wala from Mumbai, doors conveniently open for him when needed, making his ‘struggle’ not much of it. And despite all that, Vijay doesn’t just look fit and handsome; he makes you want to root for the character. It’s sad the stuff doesn’t let you do that.

Ramya Krishnan is cast as the supportive mother, but she screams a lot. Ananya Panday looks cute but there’s clearly a lot of improvement to be done when it comes to acting. Getup Srinu is hilarious in some scenes, despite the silly dialogues handed to him. Ali, Ronit Roy, Vishu and rest of the cast are plain okay. Mike Tyson’s much-hyped cameo is a let-down but there’s a very meta ear biting scene written in there for fans. No one buys that ending though.

It’s ironic that Liger is asked to focus multiple times in the film, but the script itself lacks the same focus. Things just keep happening for no rhyme or reason and Puri fails to deliver satisfactions conclusion to any of the tracks. Vijay deserved better, so did we. As the filmmakers promised, watt laga diyThebut not in a good way.

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