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A marathon soap opera experience

click to enlarge barfi_priyanka_ranbir.jpeg

You might know “barfi” as an Indian dessert, but in Anurag Basu’s romantic comedy, Barfi!, it’s the name of one of the movie’s central characters (played by Ranbir Kapoor), a man with a speech-impediment who can’t pronounce his real name, Murphy. Instead of picking a directorial style, Basu includes Charlie Chaplin-style slapstick, choppy cuts and flashbacks reminiscent of true-crime television and faux Film Noir detectiving, and combines them into a two and a half hour marathon soap opera, of sorts. Barfi loves the rich, beautiful and soon-to-be-married Shruti Ghosh (Ileana D’Cruz); she secretly reciprocates this love, but while she’s indecisive, Barfi falls for the autistic Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), who is shunned by her family. Of course, Barfi is also a criminal by necessity, and the story jumps back and forth in time so much that you almost don’t catch some glaring continuity problems. Overall, this is far too confused and lengthy an endeavor.


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