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Shah Rukh Khan vs. Ranveer Singh

Hollywood is currently seeing a clash between JJ Abrams and Quentin Tarantino over the releases of their much-anticipated holiday blockbusters. Bollywood is also undergoing its own cinematic clash of the titans. In one corner is a historical epic drama starring Ranveer Singh. Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan occupies the other corner with a film that offers a much anticipated cinematic reunion with co-star Kajol.

For viewers who want something a lot more substantive in their cinematic fare, their best bet would be the new Frederick Wiseman immersive documentary on an incredible Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s a place where one can imagine its being welcoming enough for both a Larry Kramer and a Shah Rukh Khan.

Bajirao Mastani

Sanjay Leela Bansali’s historical blockbuster is one of two hotly anticipated Bollywood films coming out this weekend. This historically loose dramatization stars Ranveer Singh as the Marathan emperor Peshwa Bajirao and Deepika Padukone as Bajirao’s warrior princess/lover/concubine Mastani. The film’s less about the spectacular Rajnikathian assaults and more about the sexual drama as Bajirao finds his affections torn between lover Mastani and wife Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra). Fortunately, the sets are beautiful and so are the actors.

Opens December 18 at the Century San Francisco Centre 9

Dilwale

The other hotly anticipated Bollywood blockbuster opening this weekend re-unites film megastar Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in a musical with a heavy dose of Romeo and Juliet. Shah Rukh Khan plays Raj, a mechanic who modifies expensive cars, and (15 years later) Kali, an Indian gangster whose CV doesn’t include respect for innocent life and limb. Meera (Kajol) plays the Juliet to Kali’s Romeo and if you’ve ever seen even a bad knockoff of Shakespeare’s seminal tragedy, you can pretty much predict what happens next. The difference is director Rohit Shetty tosses in flying cars and a “brotherhood above all” attitude into the mix.

Opens December 18 at the Century San Francisco Centre 9

In Jackson Heights

Legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s 40th documentary takes viewers into the Brooklyn neighborhood of Jackson Heights. Here, 167 different languages are spoken, and residents range from immigrants from Peru and Bangladesh to elderly Jews and Italians. The stores in this neighborhood sell everything from Bollywood DVDs to whole baby goats. Jackson Heights’ strong political character also shines through in everything from an LGBT activist community to small shop owners fighting gentrification. If you ever loved the Mission before the tech gentrifiers and property owner greed screwed things up, take a trip to Jackson Heights.

Opens December 18 at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and the Roxie Theater

Mojin: The Lost Legend

The Mojin were a legendary trio of grave robbers who had retired. However, a mysterious client’s proposition leads the team back into the grave-robbing game. Under the guise of an archeological study, the Mojin raid ancient Chinese tombs in search of treasure and ancient secrets. But the perils the trio encounter threaten to take a toll on their team unity. The film is based on an incredibly popular best-seller.

Opens December 18 at the AMC Van Ness 14

Mr. Six

Mr. Six is a former notorious hoodlum who’s estranged from his son Bobby. That situation changes when Bobby gets snatched after damaging a car belonging to the son of an Important Government Official. When legal methods fail, the gangster reassembles his old criminal crew to use extra-legal methods to rescue his son.

Opens December 18 at the AMC Metreon 16

About the Author

I’m a film reviewer for the Beyond Chron blog. Agnes Varda and Hirokazu Kore-eda are among my favorite filmmakers. I occasionally break down and watch a good action film…but don’t tell anyone.

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