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The movie Liger is 140 minutes of total cringe

The dialogues, especially those coming out of Ananya Panday’s mouth, are so #facepalm-inducing that you are bound to die a little sitting in your plex seat

Priyanka Roy  Published 27.08.22, 04:21 AM

Let’s cut to the chase... Liger is unbearable, and will possibly go down as one of the worst films of 2022 on every Bollywood year-end list. In the meantime, if someone manages to come up with a category even more derogatory, Liger unarguably will top that list too.

Cringe from the get-go, there isn’t a single redeeming feature about this tortuous watch that gets worse by the minute. And there are 140 minutes of it to get through. Liger has a story so mothballed that Puri Jagannadh — credited with story, screenplay and directing duties — must have deep-dived into an old trunk in a Victorian Era attic to fish it out. The dialogues, especially those coming out of Ananya Panday’s mouth, are so #facepalm-inducing that you are bound to die a little sitting in your plex seat. Like when Ananya’s Taniya, a flaky social media influencer, seriously claims, “I am going to Hollywood to be a movie star”. If Ananya said that even in real life, it would invite cringe. By the way, dad Chunky, sporting a weird accent, pops up somewhere in the middle. More cringe!


So let’s get to what Liger is about, which, in itself, is a tough task. The titular character in this multilingual film is played by south sensation Vijay Deverakonda in what is billed as his big Bolly debut. It’s tough to fathom what Vijay, whose short career so far has been distinguished by some noteworthy performances (even in the controversial Arjun Reddy) saw in this script. For Liger, has no script. It’s just a series of random scenes stitched together, most of which make no sense, abruptly punctuated by songs that seem to have come out of a checklist — Punjabi song? Check. Sensuous number? Check. Bargain basement version of a Gully Boy-influenced song? Check.

So Liger — yes, that’s the name he’s born with, since his dad was considered a lion in his youth and his mom a tiger/ tigress (eye-roll moment infinity) — wants to be a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star. His mother — played by Ramya Krishnan, still in Bahubali’s Sivagami mode who hams it up like there’s no tomorrow — runs a tea stall and somehow convinces a MMA coach (Ronit Roy solemnly spieling one motivational line after another) to train her son. Liger is quick with his punches, but stammers. Vijay, otherwise a fine actor, tries his best to rise above the ludicrous writing, but that affected stammering will make you tear your hair out after a point.

And that’s not even the worst thing about Liger. Jagannadh has often been criticised for the lens of misogyny through which he makes his films, and Liger is no different. Liger, at every point, is warned not to fall in love because that will come in the way of his ambition to become an international MMA champ. Women are constantly demeaned in this film. And I am not even getting to the abuses that one woman hurls at another in a scene that can only be described as nauseatingly unwatchable.

When nothing else works in Liger, a patriotic track, with Liger walking into the MMA ring with the Tricolour around him, is forced in. The film plods on and on, hurling itself from one mindless fight scene to another... a forgettable song pops up, a hammy line is delivered... it all plays out on a loop. You then start noticing other things about the film. One of the actors is called Vish, another Temper Vamsi....

And then Mike Tyson — playing not himself, but a cowboy-gangster named Mark Henderson — walks in. The scene is set somewhere in Nevada, Liger speaks to Tyson in Hindi and calls him “Saala takle”, they end up fighting, which is televised live across the world and then click a selfie. If this review reads random, then all I can say is that it perfectly mirrors the film. Tyson embarrasses himself, but I guess the man doesn’t give a damn. Let’s hope he just goes back to the Hangover films. For our sake, at least.

“34 days, 20 flights, 17 cities,” is what Ananya had written on Instagram on release day to sum up Liger’s extensive publicity and promotional campaign. If only they had spent even half that time making a semi-watchable film.

Liger (u/A)

Director: Puri Jagannadh

Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Ananya Panday, Ramya Krishnan, Ronit Roy, Mike Tyson

Running time: 140 minutes

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