Pendulum explores the concepts of lucid dreaming and time travelling, which are new to Malayalam cinema. However, the confused narrative prevents the film from emerging as an interesting watch.
Pendulum story: Dr. Mahesh Narayanan (Vijay Babu) moves back to Kochi with his loving wife Shweta (Devaki Rajendran) and their only daughter Thanu. The family goes on a one-day trip to a hill station, where Mahesh was found unconscious. After regaining consciousness, he reveals that he was hit by a lorry last night, to only realise that he was dreaming. Later, Dr. Mahesh, who realises that his dreams have a connection with two other individuals named Ameer and Angel, tries to solve this puzzle with the help of John Master (Prakash Bare).
Rejin S Babu, the writer and director of Pendulum deserves appreciation for taking up the themes of lucid dreaming and time travelling, which are relatively less explored in Malayalam cinema. Even though the story idea looks totally exciting on paper, the movie clearly falters when it comes to its narrative, which leaves the audience confused. Even though this fantasy thriller tries to introduce new concepts, it doesn’t completely succeed in making it reach the viewers effectively.
The film begins on a slow yet promising note by establishing the characters of Dr. Mahesh Narayanan and his family. The non-linear narrative also simultaneously introduces the characters of Ameer, his father (brilliantly played by Indrans), and Angel, thus setting the perfect stage for the story to unfold. However, things go downhill after the film dives into Mahesh’s journey to find the truth behind his dreams, and the introduction of Prakash Bare’s character John Master.
Even though the ambitious film tries hard to be a highly intriguing watch, the weak second half leaves us with more questions than answers. Too many loose ends and the non-linear story telling that gets frustratingly confusing after a point, dilutes the overall experience. The climax, which seems rushed, also leaves us with more and more questions. Despite its relatively short running time, Pendulum falls into extreme slow pace at parts, owing to scenes that come across repetitive.
When it comes to performances, Indrans steals the show with his intimidating (and almost frightening) portrayal of Ameer’s father. A special mention to the senior actor’s highly effective dialogue delivery, which makes his character even more impactful. Vijay Babu plays the role of Dr. Mahesh Narayanan to near perfection. However, Prakash Bare lets down with his minimal expressions and robotic dialogue delivery and comes across as a misfit for the role of John Master.
Anumol, who plays the grown up Angel, fails bring any impact to her underwritten role. The rest of the star cast, including Devaki Rajendran, Ramesh Pisharody, Neena Kurup, Shobi Thilakan, Binoj Villya, Sunil Sukhada, Shaju Sreedhar, and others are fine in their minimal roles. Jean P Johnson’s background adds the perfect mood to the fantasy thriller, while the songs are forgettable. Arun Damondaran’s cinematography creates the perfect backdrop for the film.
Pendulum is a film with an interesting theme which is let down by inconsistent writing and messed up narrative. If you are someone who enjoys experimental films, you can watch this Vijay Babu starrer on OTT, on Saina Play.