As one can guess from its title, Pendulum has a direct reference to 'time' playing the main protagonist. The film showcases five incidents that take place simultaneously, in Kolkata. The stories are interconnected in a way and so are the characters.
: The more the merrier. But the key to it all is getting the balance right. Isn't it? Sadly, debutant director Soukarya Ghosal is no juggler. And Pendulum — which comprises five stories of different moods and flavours, concerning a motley group of people from various walks of life — disappoints.
The film opens at a very slow pace and that kind of takes away the initial charm. Gradually, it gains momentum as we are introduced to one character after another. The very first segment sees Subhasish Mukhopadhyay as a painter. A mysterious character, he apparently can teleport people to another land through his paintings. He uses his art to trap Rajesh Sharma, the promoter, who is after his life to vacate the house. Shankar (Shantilal Mukherjee) is a driver, who dreams of owning a garage one day. Then there's this love story of Baban (Samadarshi) and Nandita (Radhika). While Baban is a college student, his girlfriend Nandita works in an ad agency. Baban has a rival in Bony, who too is in love with Nandita but is scared of approaching her. Instead, he fantasizes about her. Rajatava happens to be Baban's Bangla teacher, whose wife meets with an accident. Ani aka Anindya Banerjee plays a visually challenged songwriter. He is married to Bublu (Sreelekha), a professor of English. The couple seems to be in love till Swapnasree (Doelpakhi Dasgupta) makes an entry.
Performance-wise, most of the actors have done their bits well. Shantilal, Rajatava, Rajesh and Subhasish clearly emerge winners. Radhika adds to the much-required glam quotient. Samadarshi and Sreelekha are convincing. Anindya deserves a special mention for handling the role of a blind man with so much confidence.
There are a few interesting moments. For example, the use of Ingmar Bergman's
Summer with Monika
poster that Subhasish uses as a bait to allure Rajesh Sharma, is attention-grabbing. Or the scene where Anindya gets ready to go out for a walk with Doelpakhi is touching. Again, you feel for Rajatava's daughter, her predicament...
A slice-of-life film, sprinkled with a hint of magic realism, it does complete a full circle. However, the switch from one track to another is mostly bumpy and that makes you uncomfortable. The problem lies in execution. Perhaps in a bid to concentrate more on the structure — obviously inspired by several foreign films — the director fails to focus on the plots. They are bland and predictable. Even the camerawork is a tad amateurish.
Nevertheless, considering it's his first attempt at filmmaking, one just can't write off Soukarya's hard work and earnestness. The best part of the film is its duration. Tight editing helps salvage the film to some extent.