Directed by Bhargav Saikia who wrote the screenplay based on a story by Ruskin Bond, The Black Cat is utterly charming and filled with joy and a touch of the Halloween spirit closer to the end. The story is funny and witty, giving an older gentleman a visitor that brings life and a bit of happiness with them. The lead of Mr. Bond starts off a bit grumpy and soon finds himself happier, having a positive character arc that is fun to watch in great part to the presence of his feline companion. Miss Bellows, his visitor later in the story, adds a lot of spunk and a dash of mystery to the story.
Playing the lead of Mr. Bond is actor Tom Alter who does the slight curmudgeon part justice and gives him the nuances he needs to truly have a satisfying development in his arc. The titular kitty plays their mischievous part as if they were born for it. Playing Miss Bellows, actress Shernaz Patel brings the right attitude and spunk, creating the demanding yet charming woman who comes collect her cat and maybe more. Patel gives Miss Bellows dimension and depth while keeping a few surprises up her sleeve. Rounding out the small cast is actor Uday Chandra as Jaffer the antique shop keeper, doing good work of his short screen time.
The Black Cat is carefully framed and shot with cinematography by A. Vasanth who gives each location a distinct look and effect on the viewer. Mr. Bond’s apartment is shot in a manner that makes sense with the character and what goes on around him while the antique shop is shot in a cramped manner and scenes with Miss Bellows have their own feel and style. All of it comes together beautifully and coherently thanks to Vasanth and the Arjun Mogre.
Adding whimsy and fun are the costume designs by Malvika Bajaj who gives Miss Bellows a great look, gloves and all, and the visual effects by Bejoy Arputharaj and S. Rayindran add just the right touch of magic to the last part of the film. This part is what makes the film work so well so ti will not be spoiled here. Also adding magic is the music by Advait Nemlekar which brings the right ambiance to the film. The use of The Monster Mash on the end credits was a nice touch.
The Black Cat is filled with good acting, cute cats, whimsical fun, and good use of music. It feels like a Halloween season film but can really be enjoyed at any time of year. It’s utterly charming and an absolutely enjoyable watch. It’s the kind of short that film enthusiasts in general, not just Halloween fans, should fall in love at first watch with.