The next blockbuster after Bhool Bhulaiya 2 is here. And it’s got a name. Liger, which we are told is a mix of a tiger and a lion. The trailer shows Vijay Deverakonda in the dual animalistic tone . He is in terrific form as a fighter from the slums. That his militant mother is played by Ramya Krishnan certainly ensures Liger’s place in the hall of fame.
Remember Ramya’s resolve to make her son the king of all he surveys in Baahubali? Liger exudes a similar belligerent energy. Vijay Deverakonda straddles the crossbred combat in the boxing ring and in the larger ring of life where the slum rules are applied to multiple streetfights.
The action in Liger is of the kind not seen in Indian cinema before. Deverakonda gets into the mood of crushing his opponents with a vigour and grace that seldom go hand-in-hand in our leading man.
I mean, how can you be a steamroller and Rolls Royce at the same time?! Vijay Deverakonda show us how.
Liger has many LOL(Lash Out Lout) moments. The streetsmart hero in the ring is not a new thing. But the fights in Liger seem to havea sting. While focusing on the debutant hero’s fighting abilities , Liger also shows the hero to be vulnerable; Deverakonda plays the fighter with a speech disability.
The only time before this when we’ve seen the hero stammering before was in Anurag Basu’s Jagga Jasoos
Bollywood’s biggest dream merchant, Karan Johar is thinking South. Recent trends—RR,Pushpa, etc– indicate seismic changes at the boxoffice. Karan’s best friend Aditya Chopra’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Samrat Prithviraj have bombed miserably.
And to add insult to injury, Kartik Aaryan, a young actor from outside the film industry whom Karan ostracized , is well on the way of becoming the No.1 hero of Bollywood, leaving behind all the Dharma favourites Varun Dhawan,Siddharth Malhotra,etc.
It’s not as though KJo is getting jittery or anything. Far from it. However Karan who has one of the cleverest minds in the Indian entertainment industry, is re-strategizing his production moves, gradually spreading his wings to the South, to the Telugu film industry to be more precise, where all the action is supposed to be.
This movement towards a Dravidian utopia began five years ago when Karan tied up with Telugu cinema’s maverick S S Rajamouli. Karan was the sole distributor of Baahubali in Hindi. Returning the favour, Rajamouli has now taken over Karan’s beleaguered over-budget Brahmastra in the South where the much-troubled project sci-fi drama featuring the newly-married Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt along with Amitabh Bachchan and Nagarjuna, is being projected as the next best thing after Rajamouli’s RRR.
Karan’s brain-bank thought the novelty of seeing Ranbir and Alia together for the first time, and that too after their marriage , would see the project Brahmastra through at the boxoffice. However trade experts are of the opinion that the marriage would have little lucrative effect on the film’s boxoffice performance.
That’s where the South tieup came in for Brahmastra. Not only is Rajamouli the project’s anchor in the South, Rajamouli’s father the respected screenwriter K Vijayendra Prasad was asked to salvage the project by rewriting the climax.
I am not too sure of the financial arrangement between Karan Johar and the father-son duo of Vijayendra Prasad and Rajamouli. But it is definitely a staggering amount; and every penny worth it, as Telugu cinema is where all the action at the Indian boxoffice seems to be happening at the moment.
The latest on Karan Johar Dharma Production’s growing association with the South is that the doyen of the Telugu film industry Chiranjeevi is also a part of Brahmastra, in what capacity, one doesn’t know.
Karan Johar is tightlipped about his plans with Chiranjeevi vis-à-vis Brahmastra. He is more open about his exuberant endorsement of the other Telugu superstar Vijay Devarakonda who stars in Dharma Productions full-on action thriller Liger.
Karan feels Devarakonda will be the next superstar of Hindi cinema. I suspect a part of this exuberance comes from Johar’s determination to find a competitor for Kartik Aaryan. Whatever his motives, Karan is placing a towering faith in Vijay Devarakonda, inviting the young charming Telugu star to not only frontline the slick action film Liger, but two other projects as well , one of which will apparently cast Devarakonda with Karan’s god-daughter Alia Bhatt.
The South invasion is not quite the leveling force in Bollywood that it is seen to be , not with Bhoola Bhulaiya 2 showing us that the halcyon days of Bollywood are far from over.
But as far as Karan Johar and Dharma Productions are concerned, the Telugu film industry is the go-to solution for the eruption of bleakness in Bollywood.