Rich atmospherics score over the plot in Bhargav Saikia’s 20-minute film The Black Cat, based on a Ruskin Bond story and featuring Tom Alter in one of his last screen appearances. The story is as twee as expected – it even opens in an antique shop – and involves the silken-coated feline of the title, a bumbling writer, a strange visitor, and sorcery.
Alter plays Ruskin Bond (known as Mr Bond in the film), whose purchase of a broom from an antique shop brings on an unexpected visit the next day. A black cat adopts the writer and takes over his cottage. Is the cat what it appears to be, or, as suggested by the mysterious Miss Bellows (Shernaz Patel), something else altogether? The handsome production design and camerawork, special effects and animation, sinister background score, and the cat’s antics compensate for a spare and predictable story.