Director Bhargav Saikia’s short film The Black Cat, which features legendary actor Tom Alter in his final lead role, releases online today on the occasion of Children’s Day. The film is the last completed film of Tom Alter who passed away recently after a long and courageous battle with skin cancer.

The Black Cat which is produced by Lorien Motion Pictures is released on their official YouTube channel.

The Black Cat which is an official adaptation of a Ruskin Bond short story is a children’s fantasy film. The film belongs to the Fantasy genre, which has not been widely explored in Indian cinema. Celebrated Indian author and Padma Bhushan awardee Ruskin Bond is known for his short stories and other forms of literature for children and has been widely considered as India’s favourite children’s author.

Interestingly, Tom Alter essays the role of Ruskin Bond in the film which makes it all the more special since the actor and writer were close friends.

The Black Cat is the latest work of Ruskin Bond that has been adapted for celluloid. The previous official film adaptations of the iconic writer’s works include Vishal Bhardwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf, The Blue Umbrella and Shyam Benegal’s Junoon.

Raskin Bond
Raskin Bond

The Black Cat had its International Premiere recently at FilmQuest Festival in Utah where it was nominated for the Best Fantasy Film and Best Production Design awards, film was also screened at 20th International Children’s Film Festival India 2017 which was be held from 8th to 14th November 2017 in Hyderabad.

Film also stars Shernaz Patel who has given an extremely memorable performance as Miss Bellows, a traditional English Witch. The Visual Effects (VFX) for the film are done by Phantom-FX whose previous credits include Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

Shernaz Patel in The Black Cat
Shernaz Patel in The Black Cat

The Black Cat has been shot on various locations in Mussoorie and Nainital. It features important landmarks of these picturesque towns including The Retreat, a beautiful colonial property near Nainital which was built in the late 1860s by the British. Bhargav Saikia had also recently organized a special screening of the film for Ruskin Bond in Mussorie who was extremely pleased with the film.

Bhargav Saikia, the director of The Black Cat says, “Ruskin Bond is a national treasure and I cannot think of a better occasion than Children’s Day to release The Black Cat. I strongly believe the film will appeal to younger audiences as well as adults. The Black Cat has been made with utmost love and care, and I am extremely excited to share the film with everyone today. I dedicate the film to Tom Alter.”

Tom Alter in The Black Cat
Tom Alter in The Black Cat

About the Film

Directed by Bhargav Saikia, The Black Cat is a short film and an official adaptation of celebrated writer Ruskin Bond’s short story. The Black Cat had its international premiere at one of USA’s leading film festivals for horror, fantasy & sci-fi cinema, FilmQuest Festival in Utah. The film was nominated for the Best Fantasy Film & Best Production Design awards. It has also won the Best Music award and nominated for Best Director, Best Actor (Tom Alter) & Best Cinematography at McMinnville Short Film Festival in USA. It won the award for Best Cinematography and an Honourable Mention for Best Fantasy/Sci-fi Film at Asians on Film – Festival of Shorts in USA.

The Black Cat has screened at the following film festivals: Jaffna International Cinema Festival in Sri Lanka (nominated for Best International Short Film), 20th International Children’s Film Festival India in Hyderabad, Bengaluru International Short Film Festival, India (nominated for Best Indian Fiction Film), Signs Festival in Kochi, India (nominated for Best Short Fiction Film), Spooky Empire’s International Horror Film Festival in USA (nominated for Best International Short) and Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival in Guwahati.

The Black Cat
The Black Cat

The film has received positive reviews from international film critics/genre film websites including Diabolique Magazine, one of USA’s leading magazines for horror, fantasy and science fiction cinema, which has praised The Black Cat and said, “Bhargav Saikia is a name people should be looking out for in the years to come. A new voice in fantasy and magical realism, he’s on the verge of achieving wonderful things.”

About the Director

Bhargav Saikia is a filmmaker from Assam based in Mumbai. His debut short film, Awakenings, has screened in-competition at some of the world’s top genre film festivals, including the Academy Awards (Oscar) accredited Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (Spain), HollyShorts Film Festival (USA) and Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (Switzerland). Bhargav also produced the critically acclaimed independent feature film, Kaafiron Ki Namaaz, which premiered at one of Asia’s leading film festivals, Jeonju International Film Festival (South Korea), in 2014.