Due to a bizarre narrative and poor writing, LIGER fails to impress.

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Liger review {1.5/5} and rating

LIGER is the story of a born fighter. Liger (Vijay Deverakonda) travels to Mumbai with his mother Balamani (Ramya Krishnan) from Benares and the two start running a tea stall. However, their real intention of moving to town is to meet Christopher (Ronit Roy). He runs a mixed martial arts (MMA) training center. Balamani asks Christopher to train Liger, that too for free. Christopher rejects the request at first. 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 being unable to pay her fees, Christopher can hire Liger as a servant. Christopher agrees but on two conditions – first, Liger must not lose sight of it and second, he must not chase after the women. Liger agrees. Christopher soon realizes that Liger is an expert fighter and can fulfill his father’s wish of winning the national championship. However, Liger bumps into Taniya (Ananya Panday) and the two begin a romantic relationship. Liger has a bad stutter and he worries that Taniya won’t notice. So once, while they are partying in a pub, Liger confesses to her. But an inebriated Taniya tells Liger that she doesn’t care about his stutter. Meanwhile, Taniya and Balamani have a fight one day. Balamani gets the shock of her life when she realizes Liger is in love with the girl she hates the most. Even Christopher berates him. Liger is so madly in love that he ignores it. When Taniya tells him to run away, to which Liger gladly agrees. He breaks into her house and runs with her. Taniya’s brother and MMA championship contender, Sanju (Vishu Reddy), chases after them and confronts Liger. Sanju expresses shock that Taniya has fallen in love with a man who doesn’t even speak fluently. It is then that Taniya realizes that Liger is stuttering. Although Liger told her the truth, she was so drunk she couldn’t remember. Therefore, she dumps him. What happens next shapes the rest of the film.

The story of Puri Jagannadh (co-written by Karan Thatavarthy, AR Sreedhar) is cliché. There have been many such sports films in the past and LIGER offers nothing new in this regard. The scenario of Puri Jagannadh wants to be massive and commercial. A few scenes here and there are well thought out. But overall, the film is peppered with very silly moments, and the writing dips into the second half. Prashant Pandey’s Hindi dialogues are decent.

The management of Puri Jagannadh is not up to par. To give credit where it’s due, he handled a few scenes well like Liger’s intro fight, Taniya sneaking into Liger’s house, Liger’s first fight with Chirstopher’s MMA trainers and Liger’s fight in the train. But the scenes in the rest of the movie don’t impress because they aren’t cut well or are just plain weird, like Taniya not realizing that her boyfriend has a stutter. In places, Puri even leaves gaps and skips the narrative right away. Some scenes are such that viewers wonder how they were approved.

LIGER begins on an intriguing note and with a stylishly presented opening credits. A few opening scenes are fine but as mentioned above, the wrong direction ruins things. For example, the police station scene is never shown after the local train sequence. Second, how Liger broke into Taniya’s house and escaped with her is merely implied, but would have had a better impact had he been depicted. On the other hand, the audience is confused when Christopher criticizes Sanju for having no ethics. However, Christopher’s own student started the fight with Sanju’s men by flashing the middle finger! Then the scene where Taniya alleges that Liger is a drama queen would leave viewers amazed as she was the one who left him. The intermission point will also shock the audience for how insane it is. Although there is a reason for Taniya dropping Liger which is later revealed, it still doesn’t make for a compelling watch. Hopefully the film will improve 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 even reaches international shores to fight the international league seemed like a walk in the park. The final act, involving the kidnapping of Taniya and the scene with Mark Anderson (Mike Tyson), is unimpressive. The fight scene with the female fighters was useless. The film ends on an abrupt note as Liger forgets to win the international championship after meeting Mark Anderson.

Coke 2.0 | liger | Vijay Deverakonda, Ananya Panday

Vijay Deverakonda has worked hard. It looks quite dashing and tries to rise above the script. Ananya Panday gave herself to play a very childlike character. Ramya Krishnan is fine but is often seen screaming in the film, and for no reason. Mike Tyson is strictly correct in the cameo. Ronit Roy leaves a mark. 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 because it’s not of the chartbuster variety. ‘Aafat’ is the most memorable of the lot followed by ‘Waat Laga Denge’. ‘Manchali’ is well illustrated. ‘Akdi Pakdi’ and ‘Coke 2.0’ are forced into the narrative. ‘Offensive’ is relegated to the background. Sunil Kashyap’s background music has a commercial touch.

Vishnu Sarma’s cinematography is neat. The action of Kecha Khamphakdee and Andy Long is quite good, especially in the first half. Jonny Shaik Basha’s production design is rich. Anil Paduri’s visual effects are appropriate. Junaid Siddiqui’s editing is good.

Overall, LIGER fails to impress due to its silly, bizarre storytelling and poor writing. At the box office, it will have a hard time attracting audiences to cinemas.


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