August 9, 2002 
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Will Naseer please explain?
What precisely is the actor doing in a film like Encounter?

Syed Firdaus Ashraf

A police officer with human heart: this is the message Ajay Phansekar wants to convey through his film, Encounter The Killing.

Police officer Naseeruddin Shah, who does not believe in killing gangsters, accidentally kills one and finds out that no one has come forward to claim his body.

Restless, he decides to find out the family of the deceased gangster. Help comes from Tara Deshpande, a television reporter.

In the first half of film, there are gang wars and shootouts played by novice actors who need to learn more about acting.

The second half introduces Dilip Prabhavalkar, the veteran Marathi actor who tries valiantly to repair the damage done in the first half. But he too fails to infuse life in the film.

For some strange reason, Shah is a Parsi police officer and speaks in Parsi-accented Hindi. Compared to his acting in Pestonji, where he was a Parsi, too, he fails miserably in this film. Deshpande should have tried watching television reporters before she took on this role --- she has no idea when to tell cameramen to switch their cameras on or off. As a crime reporter in the film, she is a waste.

The director's idea is to portray how youngsters from good families are attracted to crime with their parents unaware. Which is fine --- if only he had not decided to turn his movie into a tutorial for good parenting.

The film tries to be different. It fails --- it is just like the many films being made today that are instantaenously forgettable.

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