Movie Review: Tom Alter Signs Off With The Gripping ‘Black Cat’
Directed by Bhargav Saikia, ‘The Black Cat’ is an official adaptation of the Ruskin Bond short story of the same name.
Directed by Bhargav Saikia, ‘The Black Cat’ is an official adaptation of the Ruskin Bond short story of the same name.(Photo Courtesy: Youtube Screengrab)

Movie Review: Tom Alter Signs Off With The Gripping ‘Black Cat’

The Black Cat, that was recently screened at the 20th International Children’s Film Festival in Hyderabad, was digitally released on 14 November, Children’s Day.

Directed by young filmmaker Bhargav Saikia, the film is an official adaptation of the short story by the same name, written by one of the best loved authors of our time, Ruskin Bond.

A children’s fantasy horror film, with awe-inspiring special effects and an immersive old-world charm, The Black Cat does a fine job of keeping the child in all of us hooked.

The aching delight of seeing the late Tom Alter in his last screen appearance is unmatched.
(Photo Courtesy: Youtube Screengrab)

We take an instant liking to his character, Mr Bond, whom we are introduced to at the eclectic antique store. Mr Bond is mild-mannered, with an avuncular charm, but has very strong views about cats – he utters the very word with distrust.

A broomstick – one described as “full of character” – catches his fancy. As he takes the broomstick home, little does he know that a feline friend will soon insist on giving him company. The green-eyed black cat struts around with authority while Mr Bond is at his wits end as he tries to shoo the unwelcome guest away.

We meet the other lead character, Shernaz Patel in the role of M Bellows. An eccentric lady with a death stare that sits easy on her, she comes to collect her lost cat, which Mr Bond is only too happy to part with.

Soon, the ominous connection between the broomstick, the black cat, and Ms Bellows is revealed and we are left to wonder “which is witch and which is cat”.
Shernaz Patel in the role of M Bellows, an eccentric lady with a death stare.
Shernaz Patel in the role of M Bellows, an eccentric lady with a death stare.
(Photo Courtesy: Youtube Screengrab)

The most striking thing about this 20-minute short film is the surefooted way with which director Bhargav Saikia drives the narrative. Boosted by some great performances by the veteran actors – the late Tom Alter and Shernaz Patel – and armed with some surreal and fantastical special effects, there is never a dull moment in The Black Cat.

A Vasanth’s cinematography and the visual effects by Phantom-FX – whose previous credits include Baahubali 2: The Conclusion – this exquisitely plotted short film harnesses the principle elements to the hilt.

Advait Nemlekar gets the film’s foreboding tone just right – he also won the Best Music/Score Award at the McMinnville Short Film Festival in USA for his work.

This taut and gripping short film is now available digitally by Lorien Motion Pictures on their Youtube channel.

Verdict: This film is 20 minutes well spent. Go ahead and let this Black Cat cross your path.

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