Oye Makhna movie review: A tad overextended yet entertaining ‘chacha-bhatija’ comedy of errors

The ‘chacha- bhatija’ (uncle and nephew) formula is often seen in Hindi films. Typically partners in crime, the ‘jodi’ embarks on outlandish schemes with aplomb, often meeting with disastrous ends. Guggu Gill and Ammy Virk play the cheeky duo Shinda and Makhna, respectively, who are like father and son but with a difference. The two are drinking buddies, covering up for each others’ goof-ups, and reveling in each others’ company. Makhna is footloose and fancy-free and his uncle too gets a free rein when his wife goes out of the country.

Oye Makhna marks the sixth collaboration between director Simerjit Singh and Virk, who have previously worked together on Angrez (2015), Nikka Zaildar (2016), Nikka Zaildar 2 (2017), Nikka Zaildar 3 (2019) and Muklawa (2019). Marking another collaboration, the film is produced under the banner of Yoodlee Films, the film arm of Saregama India, which made the announcement last year that it will be venturing into Punjabi cinema after making inroads into Tamil and Marathi film industries.

The romantic comedy is pegged on Makhna’s search for a girl whom he spots at a traffic light and is completely smitten by. However, he has only been able to see her eyes and is determined to find her. In a case of mistaken identity, he thinks she is the irascible neighbour’s daughter. But the problem is that she is already engaged to someone else.

The uncle-nephew team plots to get the engagement broken by hook or by crook, to clear a path for Makhna to woo her. This leads to hilarious situations, as the duo does a volte-face on their baffled neighbor (Hardeep Gill) and find themselves concocting stories to accomplish their goal.

However, Makhna realises (a bit too late) that the girl of his dreams Rimple (Tania) is not the neighbour’s daughter. As the situation becomes more complex, relationships and emotions get entangled and people get hurt. The uncle-nephew relationship too gets strained in the process.

The first half primarily establishes the bond between the ‘chacha-bhatija jodi’, which remains front and center in the film. Together, the duo seeks refuge in gallons of alcohol, as the uncle vows to see his nephew happy at all costs. There is much drunk philosophising and the dire need for liquid courage when they are off to face brickbats for their deeds. While this is funny at first, it is done with a heavy hand and becomes a bit tiresome. The film also lags in its pacing as there are over-extended scenes and needless meandering before the various strands get tied up towards a rather predictable end.

In its enthusiasm to pack in too much, writer Rakesh Dhawan includes a social message of sorts which tells us about the plight of orchestra dancers, who struggle to make a living. This is done in a rather cursory manner and one wonders if the only reason for its inclusion was the fact that in the recent past, several Punjabi-language films have delved into this particular topic.

The performances by Ammy Virk and Tania are competent, with Guggu Gill stealing much of the limelight with his effortless charisma. Often cast as a stern, hard-to-please character, it is refreshing to see him shine in a light-hearted film, where he aces the comic timing. Supporting actors Sukhwinder Chahal and Hardeep Gill bolster the general hilarity that ensues.

On the music front, there are some notable tracks, beginning with the opening dance number “Chad gayi chad gayi”, sung by Neha Kakkar; followed by the love ballad “Chann Sitarey” sung by Virk, featuring a stylised dream sequence. A romantic courtship number, “Main Cheez ki Haan”, unfolds the love between Rimple and Makhna.

An enjoyable film overall, Oye Makhna has its heart in the right place. Despite all the misunderstandings and disingenuous plotting, the characters do not wish to hurt anyone’s sentiments, least of all those of their family members. As Tania says emphatically, “Family always comes first”, so much so that the lovers decide to take the high road, sacrificing their love for the greater good. But all’s well that ends well, especially in a comedy of errors.

Oye Makhna movie cast: Ammy Virk, Guggu Gill, Tania, Hardeep Gill
Oye Makhna movie director: Simerjit Singh
Oye Makhna movie rating: 3 stars

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