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Host: Manoj Bajpayee
Sony TV Friday-Sunday, 9 pm
By Siddhi Pathak
Following a string of some successful crime-based TV shows like CID and Crime Patrol, Sony Entertainment Television launched a new series called Encounter with actor Manoj Bajpayee making a comeback to TV, as the anchor. The series is based on real-life encounters of mafia figures in various parts of the country, fictionalising incidents of their lives from the beginning of their journey in the crime world to the final encounter.
The first episode of the series dramatises the story of Shankya, a gangster from the infamous mafia-fostering area in Mumbai, Dongri. Shankya’s case is that of the typical good boy turning bad, and forming a gang, with the sole aim to become Bombay ka baap by openly challenging the existent law-enforcing authorities. Shankya’s story is spread over three one-hour long episodes.
Encounter has the most typical elements of a crime show. The cinematography, in its own way, tries to add a hint of mystery with extremely high and low angled shots. The music too, is typical of a crime show, trying hard to induce thrill. Other oft-repeated elements found in crime shows are a dedicated and fierce police force, dramatic chases, action sequences, a fair amount of investigation, the usual torture scenes and a good deal of emotional drama provided by the spouse and the family of the gangster. In an attempt to add a little style, the dialogues use a lot of unnecessary metaphors which sometimes distort the real meaning. All these compel viewers to compare it with popular Bollywood gangster films such as Once Upon a Time in Mumbai and Shootout at Lokhandwala,
evoking a feeling of deja vu.
If one were to compare it with cinema, the show is unable to provide a sense of intrigue. It’s like an adaptation of gangster films on television. The episodes end on a note of suspense, that arouses enough inquisitiveness to make you want to watch it the next day. However, spending weekend evenings watching dons taking up killing contracts and betting over ruling a city is not a happiness-inducing prospect. Manoj Bajpayee, as the anchor, adds a touch of reality to the fictionalised episodes. However, his presence does little to drive the story forward as we only see him in parts.
Verdict: Not a very good way to spend the weekend, unless you relish tales of the underworld.