Liger director Puri Jagannadh was recently called out for regressive storytelling in his previous South Indian films like Businessman and iSmart Shankar. I went in prepared to watch something that could possibly be insulting or hard to sit through (trigger warnings), instead what I got was something equally worse.
Ironically the filmmakers do warn you about Liger being a bad film. One of Vijay’s dialogues within 5 minutes of the film is “Mein kahani sunane me kamzor hu par try karunga,” ( I am bad at telling stories, but I will try).
Rating: 0.5 – Burn It!
Liger is everything you see in the trailer, amplified several times to last the 140-minute duration of the film. The plot does offer a few twists but by the time you get there, you are left with nothing in you to appreciate the film. It beings with Liger’s very South filmy introduction at an International MMA stage. While he is being introduced as the Slumdog millionaire, the chai wala, Liger is running on the streets talking to the audience. He is running after a car with a kidnapped Aanaya Panday in it, hoping to share his story of why he is running after to save the girl he hates the most in the world.
For the rest of the run time, we find out how they met, how and why Liger became an MMA champion, and how they crossed paths once again. It seems like a typical love story with an MMA fighter at the center of it, however, the writing is so chaotic that Liger turns into a mess that is hard to justify. The film shot in a South Indian language (Tamil) is officially dubbed in Hindi, instead of being shot in a second language. But, it is not enough to validate the below subpar Hindi dialogues by Prashant Pandey or the acting where all characters look like they are just screaming words at each other.
Despite the love story being at the crux, the film spends no time to set it up. They meet once — he insults her — she falls in love — his mother insults her — he falls in love! It’s barely two scenes and they are singing songs together as if they have been in love for years. Despite everything, a good conflict could have still saved the story. A real villain, a consequence, anybody’s death; anything could have worked at this point, but bullying Liger for his stammering, solely asking him not to look at girls because they will be a distraction are the worst options Puri Jagannadh could have chosen, who has also written the film’s screenplay.
(PS: This IG video has way better acting and comedy than the movie, maybe it makes sense that influencers are real actors now.)
Vijay’s Liger is more autistic than someone with a speech impairment. He not only has trouble completing his words/sentences but is unable to regulate emotions or is often in distressed with unexplained behaviour. Anaya’s Taniya is worst than a love interest. She is the plot point in Liger’s story. The only thing the writers left out was killing her off, honestly wouldn’t have made much of a difference if they did. The film went on to give Ananya Panday’s character Taniya every stereotypical plotline a female love interest has had in all history of Hindi and South Indian cinema. She is deemed the chudail early on but also ends up being his saving grace for the hero. So typically, the girl his mom asked him never to date but is the one who brings him on the right path in life.
What ridicules her character more is that Liger doesn’t compliment her sacrifice. All the space Taniya’s character created for the hero is instead filled with screaming dialogues and loud expressions. Most of which do not make sense, Taniya who is an aspiring social media influencer tells her lackeys to come up with some “hashtags, captions, bio” to get her millions of likes. Their immediate reaction to ask her to treat social media as if it were her Only Fans account.
Taniya’s first interaction with Liger is her claiming he fat-shamed her in a comment and then proceeds to show him her ratio which is “perfect”. There are so many problematic (not only misogynistic) dialogues in the film, it is hard to imagine why it was ever passed for the final script. From “Meine tumko pregnant karke choda kya?” to “Uski Mercedes pe apni cycle chadha de”, a lot of it is pushed as comic relief but it only makes you uncomfortable.
However, for a brief second, you get some relief with a long montage of Liger in the ring battling other MMA fighters from across the world. For those few minutes, Liger feels like a real movie. If the plot was told from the ring more than the love story Liger could have been something much better, and something watchable. Sunil Kashyap’s background score and Vishnu Sharma’s camerawork attempt to compliment Vijay which works in some places but mostly it gets in the way.
Verdict: There are several triggering moments in the film which make you want to leave, and you should take the cue. You won’t miss out on anything. Only harassment scenes are not triggering, scenes with dialogues objectifying women, and blaming them for — essentially being women (existing) should not be accepted in any context.
Cover artwork by Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India
Source Link : Liger Review: As Expected Puri Jagannadh's Film Is Misogynistic But It Gets Worse With Every Minute!