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Bhuvana & Abhishek & Lollipop

A Mutual Rescue Film, 2019

“Having one common thing that we both just loved changed things. We call the three of us a family.”
—Bhuvana Hariharasubramanian

About the Film

Bhuvana and Abhishek’s marriage hit unexpected turbulence that caused them to drift apart—until they adopted Lollipop, a kitten who touched their hearts and guided them to a safe harbor.

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Q&A with Bhuvana Hariharasubramanian and Abhishek Raut

Q: Bhuvana, tell us about your volunteer work with animals.

Bhuvana: I volunteer at the local animal shelter with the cats. I assist in adoptions, pairing the cats and humans with their perfect companion. I also socialize with the cats. It is the most rewarding job—every time a cat finds its forever home, it fills me with happiness. I always stay over after the shelter closes because it’s my time with the cats. The cats at the shelter value every minute that we spend with them and I feel all the stress of my life melting away with their purrs.

Q: Of all the cats you worked with at the shelter, why did you adopt Lollipop?

Bhuvana: I noticed Lollipop’s cubicle since it appeared empty because she was hiding in her cubby. She did not come out at all to see the commotion of adopters. No one had gone to visit her that day and I felt so bad for the poor kitten whom no one had noticed. Cats that are social get adopted so much faster than shy cats, and some people are superstitious about black cats. I went to socialize with Lollipop without any intention of adopting her. I enteredher cubby and she took a few seconds to put on her brave face. She poked her head out to see who had come to visit her. I guess she knew I was family and she jumped out and came onto my lap and took a short nap. I knew I couldn’t leave this kitten behind and I decided to adopt her.

Q: In your native India, how are cats generally regarded? Had you ever considered adopting a cat before Lollipop? What was your experience in India with pets?

Abhishek: Generally, cats in India are not regarded as pets. Before Lollipop, I had never considered adopting a cat. I grew up with pet dogs as a child in India and never had any experience with a pet cat.

Q: Tell us about the experience of being filmed. How did Lollipop respond to the commotion?

Both: It was a fun experience since the crew was so friendly and made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera. Lollipop was not happy about having people with equipment in her home! She was very scared of the big camera that kept trying to follow her. Even though the crew got her treats and tried to become her friends, she was wary of these new humans and was not happy being the center of attention.

Q: Why did you decide to submit your story to Mutual Rescue?

Both: We wanted to share our story and let people know that when you rescue animals, it is not just about your rescuing them, it’s also about how much the animals rescue you. A shy black cat rescued us from stress, divorce, and anger. She made us better humans. We strive every day to be the heroes that she thinks we are.

Q: Your film had a private, preview screening in April. What was it like for you? How did the audience react?

Both: Seeing ourselves on the screen was so weird. People started recognizing us and pointing at us, and it felt like we were celebrities! While we were going up the stage to thank everyone, people started chanting “Lol-li-pop! Lol-li-pop!” It was such a beautiful moment. We could see children, adults standing up, clapping, and we wondered if Lollipop knew what an impact she had had. It was an incredible feeling.

Q: What are your hopes for the film?

Both: We hope the film inspires people to look at cats as affectionate and caring pets. We hope the film highlights the stigma black cats can face and how it affects their lives. Finally, we hope people rescue animals with the knowledge that the rescue will be mutual.

Q: What would Lollipop want to add to this interview?

Bhuvana: Lollipop would thank the shelter for taking such good care of her until she found her forever home. And like us, she hopes that this film inspires people to rescue all her animal friends who are waiting at shelters for their own loving homes.

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