'Like, Share & Subscribe', produced by Venkat Boyanapalli of Niharika Entertainment and Aamuktha Creations, was released in theatres today (November 4).
Viplav (Santosh Shobhan) is a travel vlogger who crosses paths with Vasudha (Faria Abdullah), also a travel vlogger, in Araku. Viplav and his sidekick Daniels (Nellore Sudarshan) are not aware that Vasudha is in danger of being kidnapped by a dreaded Maoist named Gopanna (Mime Gopi). Her sin? She is the daughter of DGP Narendra Varma (Naren).
In the Araku forests, a foolish and inefficient Maoist leader named Brahmanna (Brahmaji) is also on the prowl with his bunch of buffoonic followers. How the three threads intersect and whether Vasudha gets saved, is what the film is about.
Santosh Shobhan's performance is a shade better than his 'Manchi Rojulochaie' act, but he needs to tone down. In many stretches, the young actor, who is otherwise promising, is a tad over-the-top. Faria Abdullah tries to repeat her naivete as seen in 'Jathi Ratnalu'. But, unlike in her debut movie, she is not convincing here. Her no-frills characterization is also inconsistent.
Brahmaji gets to play a full-fledged character and is occasionally funny. Nellore Sudharshan is sub-par. Naren and Mime Gopi are boring. Sapthagiri, Babloo, Mirchi Kiran, and others are also seen.
'Lachamammo', composed by Ram Miriyala, is bland despite the music director's familiar voice. The title track, composed by Praveen Lakkaraju, is almost absent. A Vasanth's cinematography is not eye-pleasing. Art Director Avinash Kolla's work and Ramu Tumu's editing are passable.
Director Merlapaka Gandhi is confused about the genre of the film. He treats the material at hand with lots of cinematic liberties. Granted that we shouldn't expect logic in a silly comedy, but at least the jokes have to be original. If not, the audience will keep looking for drama/reason. When they don't find what they want, they are left in the lurch.
In a scene, a film reviewer (played by Saptagiri) says that he is running for his life for trashing a disaster titled 'Soonyam', starring the son of a faction leader in the lead. Even this decent premise is not exploited properly, for 'Like, Share & Subscribe' is in a hurry to rush towards a serious song about the idealism of Maoists. On the one hand, the film wants to be another 'Jathi Ratnalu'. On the other hand, it wants to pay a tribute to R Narayana Murthy's onscreen characters.
In an episode, Vasudha falls into a morass. An unthinking and over-anxious Viplav jumps into it to save her, forgetting that he can't even swim. The slapstick comedy that follows is unbearable. This scene is proof that you shouldn't try a certain genre of comedy if you don't have outstanding actors.
The banter involving Viplav and his cameraman run out of steam in no time. Brahmaji's character could have saved the film to an extent had the comedy not been about his 'Paramanandayya Sishyulu'. People are getting to watch such unoriginal comedy for free on YouTube. Why would they pay you?
The finale - approximately the last 20 minutes - is literally mindless. We no longer keep track of the whereabouts of policemen, good Naxals, bad Naxals, and the lead pair. We just wait for the ordeal to be over.
This film suffers from unending confusion about how to deal with its premise, characters, the genre of comedy, and even its climax.