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Liger Review: Vijay Deverakonda Fails to Roar and Break Away From Shackles of Arjun Reddy

By: Sonil Dedhia


Last Updated: August 25, 2022, 17:11 IST

Mumbai, India

Liger review: Vijay Deverakonda starrer fails to pack the punch.
Liger review: Vijay Deverakonda starrer fails to pack the punch.

Liger U/A

  • 25 August 2022 | Hindi
  • 2 hrs 30 mins | Action drama
  • Starring: Vijay Deverakonda, Ananya Panday, Ramya Krishnan
  • Director: Puri Jagannadh
  • Music: Vikram Montrose, Tanishk Bagchi

Liger starring Vijay Deverakonda and Ananya Panday released on Thursday. The film fails to roar.

Towards the end of Liger, Ananya Panday asks Vijay Deverakonda why do all men think and behave like Arjun Reddy. That pretty much sums up Deverakonda’s career. Because, no matter how well he performs, it’s repetitive and tiresome to watch him as the broken man pining for his love and wasting himself. But that is not the problem with the film. Liger is full of misogyny, something that has deeply rooted in Hindi cinema.

This is evident in the film where Liger (Vijay Devarakonda) a chaiwala who aspires to become an MMA mixed martial arts) champion almost gropes Tanya (Ananya Pandey) in a café and the people seated around are just mute spectators. But she still goes on falls in love with the guy because he is hot and can beat a bunch of people. If that wasn’t enough, we see a fiery mother (played by Ramya Krishnan) calling the love of his son’s life a ‘devil’ who is manipulative, shrewd, and a cause of distraction from letting her son win the national championship in mixed martial arts. In one scene, she even tells her that you look like goddess Laxmi but your intentions are horrible.

At the same time, it seems that filmmaker Puri Jagannadh tries to compensate for the portrayal of women in the film as he makes Liger get into a pre-climax fight sequence involving women trained in Krav Maga. But the entire sequence doesn’t create any empathy, especially after we see the leading woman in the film being reduced to being a decorative prop to make the hero look good.

The filmmaker tries the overused template of underdog-to-champion as an all-too-familiar sporting film trope. However, it is hard to feel anything other than sheer frustration watching Liger given how the filmmakers have squandered the potential of the central idea.

The film is buried under mediocrity – needless romantic backstory, pointless songs, corny humor by making fun of the lead character’s stammering, cringe performances, frequent lapses of logic, and the most laughable cameo by one of the world’s greatest boxers — Mike Tyson. Even Deverakonda’s built-like-a-tank physique can’t rescue this movie from its own stupidity.

The much-hyped combat between Liger and Mike Tyson, who plays the fictional character of Mark Anderson, is nothing but a joke. While this cameo, which the makers took a year to convince the former world boxing champion, is intended to be the high point of the film but it turns out to be unintentionally funny.

Apart from some interesting action sequences, ring fights, and Deverakonda’s towering personality, there is nothing that can salvage this lazily written screenplay. The rest of the cast, including Ronit Roy, Chunky Pandey, Makarand Deshpande and Vishu Reddy, register despite reasonable screen time.

Beyond the interval, the filmmaker is overwhelmed by the experience himself and essentially gives up on tightening and​​ editing the film at all. They let loose on an eager audience by merely setting pieces in quick succession, and with so much randomness that it actually feels like they forgot to write the climax of the film. In the last scene, we see Liger defeating his mentor Mark and it cuts into the foot-tapping Coka 2.0. I think it’s fair to say that the mantra of this movie is ‘kuch bhi chal raha hai.’

Liger was targeted to be this crossbreed cinema that was filmed simultaneously in Telugu and Hindi. Aimed as the first pan-Indian film, Vijay Deverakonda surely misses the punch. At 140 minutes, Liger seems so long that by the end, I started feeling why did I get into this ‘Aafat.’

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first published:August 25, 2022, 17:11 IST
last updated:August 25, 2022, 17:11 IST