Written and directed by: Soukarya Ghoshal
Music: Mainak Nag Chowdhury
Cast: Subhashish Mukherjee, Rajesh Sharma, Dr. Koushik Ghosh, Shantilal Mukherjee, Radhika Apte, Rajatava Dutta, Dwijen Banerjee, Anasuya Majumdar, Samadarshi Dutta, Sreelekha Mitra, Anindo Banerjee, Doelpakhi (debut) and others.
By Shoma A. Chatterji
Pendulum generally refers to a separate part of a large clock that functions as the time-keeping element and is a harmonic oscillator that swings back and forth at precise time intervals depending on its length and resists swinging at any other rhythm or speed. It was invented by Christian Huygens in 1656 and till the 1930s, the pendulum clock was the world’s most precise timekeeper.
In Soukarya Ghoshal’s debut film, pendulum is a metaphor for many things – life, time-travel, death, destiny, love and relationships that oscillate and vacillate much like the pendulum of a huge clock. The anchor story is about a strange, reclusive painter (Subhashish Mukherjee) and collector of newspaper clippings who has a magic box of paint with which he draws a spiraling circle into his paintings or newspaper clippings that marks a point of entry and exit for the viewer who looks at the painting or the newspaper clipping. How he uses this magic box of paints infused with his own magical powers to take the wily builder and promoter (Rajesh Sharma)’s attention away from evicting him from his dilapidated rented apartment where he wants to build a new structure, forms the main story.
Other sub-plots branch out from this core to throw up different slices of life among the urban middle-class in Kolkata. Sadly, these stories do not have any logical link with the main story though one can see the painter appear and disappear in some of the incidents within the story and play a part in one of them. This marks the collapse of the film because time-travel remains confined to the anchor story and the other stories stand almost independent of time-travel. The strongest sub-story is the one in which an old lady wills away her ancestral home to her faithful driver (Shantilal Mukherjee) disowning her son (Koushik Ghosh). The weakest link is the romance between an ordinary student (Samadarshi) and his glamorous ad agency corporate neighbour (Radhika Gupta).
The concept of time-travel through paintings has been ‘inspired’ by Biloy Bindu (Vanishing Point) a short story by the late Sovan Som but Ghoshal takes exclusive credit for the story which is unethical. The script goes out of the director’s control and works its way to a lot of confusion as each separate story remains incomplete. The acting by every member of the cast, the cinematography and lighting by Harendra Singh are outstanding but fail to lift the limping script. Mita Chakraborty’s editing of the multi-layered narrative is very good. But the film is a perfect example of the fact that excellent infra-structure, brilliant acting and good technique cannot rescue a bad script. Ghoshal perhaps, mistaking ambition for ability, stretched himself a bit too far for his first film.