Amitabh Bachchan (left) in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby
This week the River East 21 is showing two new Bollywood releases: Go Goa Gone, a horror-comedy about zombies attacking a rave party, and Shootout at Wadala, an action film inspired by the real-life standoff between Mumbai police and gangster Manya Surve in 1982. I suspect either film will make for a decent double feature with Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (also playing at River East), which feels closer in spirit to a Bollywood spectacle than to F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel. As if to seal the connection, Luhrmann's film features a cameo from Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan as Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfsheim. It's a brazen casting choice to be sure, but I think, in this rare case, Luhrmann didn't go far enough. If you're going to cast Bachchan as a gangster, why not have him play Wolfsheim's twin brother as well?
Speaking of Indian cinema, Doc Films will screen the epic documentary Jai Bhim Comrade on Tuesday at 5:30 PM. The film, made over a 14-year period, concerns the history of India's Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, focusing on atrocities committed against this caste as well as efforts by artists and activists to raise national awareness of the Dalits' experience. Relatively few Indian movies screen around here at all, and few of those acknowledge the plight of this caste. Regardless of its quality as filmmaking, Jai Bhim Comrade will surely be eye-opening for most local spectators. A trailer follows the jump.