Saturday 3 July 2010

Nagina (1986)

Ok so i know the whole woman shifting into a snake thing is corny and down right out ridiculous but i just love these movies, they are different and if the story is well told like it is in this case, they are down right out entertaining. So hold on to your knickers dear ones, we're in for a saas-bahu-saap (Mother in law/daughter in law/ snake ) affair

The movie opens with a shot into a massive mansion with the obligatory winding staircase which seemed to be a sign of wealth in many 80's bollywood flicks

Sushma is awaiting the return of her son Rajiv (Rishi Kapoor) from England after 15years of travelling there following some disturbances in his childhood

He's welcomed by Ajay Singh (Prem Chopra) the family business proprietor and his daughter Vijaya (Rupini), plans are made for both Rajiv & Rajini to get married by his mother and Ajay

While out and about trying to familiarise himself to his surroundings Rajiv finds himself being drawn to an old haunted mansion, there he meets Rajini (Sridevi) who tells him they were childhood lovers he becomes infatuated with her and they both fall in love (aahhhhhh)

When Rajiv rejects the family's choice Vijaya, her father Ajay Singh isn't too pleased and decides on getting even

Ahh poor Vijaya, i feel your pain girl

Rajiv introduces Rajini to his mother, she's won over by Rajini and plans are made for the two to get married. Ajay still furious that his daughter Vijaya was given the cold shoulder sends his men to bump Rajiv and Ragini off, on their way they are disrupted by two angry looking cobras (Why is this)

The snakes stop the goondas from attacking the newly married couple, and seeing as his frst attempt to kill Rajiv & Rajini has failed, Ajay then refuses to hand over the family business to Rajiv, a bothered Rajiv comes home lamenting to Rajini who eases him down by revealing where the said files are (Hmm how did she know this, isn't there something fishy about this Rajini)

Alas our suspicions are confirmed when a sage Bhairon Nath (Amrish puri) comes by the family house one day and reveals to Rajiv's mother that there is a poisonous snake lurking around the house, he reveals her bahu (Daughter in law) is a snake which leaves her in shock of course, he tells her to be observant

True enough Rajiv's mom observes rajini and turns out she is indeed a snake catch this dramatic moment below

Rajini' confesses to Rajiv's mother that she is indeed a snake and tells her not to be afraid affirming she's harmless & then warns her mother in law to beware of the sage, that he is out to destroy her family

What will be the effect of this revleation to Rajiv & Rajini's marriage? Is Rajini really as harmless as she makes out? How and why did Rajini become a snake?How true are her claims of her and Rajiv being childhood buddies, Plus who is the sage and what are his motives?

Ok so I know the story seems a little bit out there to most of you but this is an entertaining female centred film, which is something we don't get a lot of in bollywood.

The first thing that came over me after watching this film, no matter how ridiculous it sounds is,
"what would i do if i found out my daughter in law is a snake?"
In fact ask yourself that question, what would you do if you found out your daughter or son in law were a snake? If you're not one (i.e a mother in law or father in law) just imagine ...LOL

Nagina's strength lies in the director Hamesh Malhotra's style of storytelling, it draws you in and holds your attention, plus there's a bit of suspense, yes we all know Rajini's a snake (duh!! from the Dvd cover) but its the reason as to why she is one, as well as her motives that keeps us at the edge of our seats.

Decent performances from all the cast here but Sridevi steals the show and lets not forget Amrish Puri he was a treat as Bhairon Nath, Rishi wasn't given much scope to shine as the whole film centres around the grand diva of 80's bollywood 'Sridevi', she just owned this film.
Check out those eyes (it musn't have been easy to wear contact lenses back then)

Overall Nagina remains one of my favourite flicks, there's a certain Indianness to this film, from the story to the execution that i love, something i miss so much in bolywood these days, i love all these movies where Indians just did their own thing without caring about the western audience, only bollywood could pull off all this snake woman sagas

If you're very squirmy about snakes you might want to avoid some Scenes in Nagina like this ridiculous one below, PETA will definitely not be happy after watching the clip above, the directors just can't claim no snakes were harmed in the making of this film

Of the snake movies Ive seen so far Nagin (1976) still remains my favourite, so camp, so colourful and so deliciously thrilling. I love Nagina too but not on the same level as Nagin, perhaps Malika's Hissss (see end of post) might trump them both

Good soundtrack from Laxmikant Pyarelal highlights are 'bhooli bisri ek kahaani', 'tune bechain itna', 'aaj kal yaad kuch' my favourites are the lovely 'Balma' with beautiful vocals from kavita Krishnamurthy, check out how Sridevi teases Rishi in the clip below

and in what has to be one of the campest song picturisations ever 'Main tera dushman' (see it below)

Paisa Vasool Rating: 7/10
Buy the dvd here

Malika's fothcoming film Hissss which is based on the legend of the snake woman makes a return to our cinema's this August, it's directed by Jennifer Lynch and features A Grade Make up and special effects, see the trailer below


Nicki said...

Nagina is one of my all time faves too. I had to buy it from Induna. I love Rishi Kapoor and Sridevi. Her dancing rocks in the film

Ava said...

ew, not my favorite genre. I hate snakes.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many snake-woman movies Hindi cinema has come up with! The only one I've seen is the Vyjyantimala-Pradeep Kumar Nagin, which I only liked for its music. I've nothing against snakes, but the entire idea of the shapeshifting woman who becomes a snake as easy as pie isn't quite my cup of tea!

we could grow up 2gether said...

my denim shirt is from zara

Rum said...

OMG I think I just died of laughter when Sushma did a big Nahiee when she saw the Nagin bahu and that screencap and hilarious subtitle!! I can see why she might do that, but this was an absolute favorite of mine when i was a kid simply for that glorious snake dance which I've often tried to imitate and look stupid doing!

Sharmi Adhikary said...

I saw this film long ago but remember it quite vividly because I found it a bit too OTT. But, Sridevi looked nice and danced so well. Even Rishi Kapoor was good. But, Amrish really was really diabolical!! I love the songs of Nagin (Vyajayanthimala-Pradeep Kumar) much more. They are haunting!
Great post :)

Nasir said...

BD tha nks for the excellent review and the very pertinent observations you have made there. I loved this one: "We're in for a saas-babu-saap affair."

Coming to the snakes, the question is not whether one loves or hates the snake. Reality-check comes in when one finds a Sridevi (Nagina) or a Reena Roy (Nagin 1976) in his bed. Would he spurn her? Then there would be question of hold and cold blood – translate it as “body.” Will she be warm? Or cold?
Jokes apart, Nagina remains one of my favourite movies –thanks largely to Sridevi and her sombre attire. The only other Sridevi starrers that remain my favourite are: Gumrah and Sadma – in that order.

Nagin (1976) scores over Nagina for the load of starcast as well as Reena Roy who looks such a dazzling beauty in the movie. I believe relating NAGIN was easier since it consists of various episodes, than relating NAGINA and as BD has observed there's the triumph of story-telling in the latter. As for NAGIN (1955?) it scores over both these movies as far as music madness is concerned. Indeed, in my opinion, if it were not for that evergreen "been" music of NAGIN, the snake-movies would not have been made in the new avatars!

sophy said...

BD: Is Hiss a Hollywood-Bollywood movie, a Bollywood-Hollywood movie, Kites?? The trailer looks interesting but very Hollywoodish. I see there's Sushma Seth. She taught at my school in the 70s.

bollyviewer said...

Oh Nagina... Its soundtrack is a very big reason why I hate the 80s in general and Sridevi in particular. (Yes, I am running off to hide after I finish typing this comment because I will probably be lynched for disliking her!) The songs from this film (especially Main teri dushman) used to play over and over again. And I had the misfortune to live in a city that took its festivals very seriously - almost every week there was one - and celebrated with these songs shrilly blaring out from loud speakers, at ear-splitting levels. And that wasn't all. Anuradha Paudwal (and some other equally shrill singers) had recorded a lot of bhajans to the tune of these songs - and they used to play over and over again, as well. So any time I hear these songs (or see Sridevi onscreen) I can feel the splitting headaches they used to bring on!

sunheriyaadein said...

@ bollyviewer : ROTFL!!!! I can totally relate to that! I've been a victim of the blaring loudspeakers too and the bhajans that you mentioned didn't even sound like bhajans.
@ bollywooddeewana : I'm yet to see Vyajayanthimala-Pradeep Kumar Nagin...I would watch it just for the songs if not for anything else. I had really enjoyed watching Nagin (1976) as a kid. This was fun too but I like Nagin better.
It sounds rather strange, but I love snakes. I'm very fond of them. So I have seen quite a lot of snake movies. But I have to confess that after I saw this movie, I was kind of scared. I went to my room after the movie, and checked every nook-n-corner to ensure there were no snakes hiding before I could go to sleep.

harvey said...

@ BD: you nearly convince me to watch this film, but just like bollyviewer and dustedoff, who (incl. me) had
to go thro this painful 80s films in real life, it just hurts when you hear the songs or watch stills of such movies.
No doubt Sridevi is a great actress. But watching her in such films, one just realises the talent that has been wasted.
Just like bollyviewer there were lots of loudspeakers in Bombay at that time playing the songs of this film, that one not only gets tired of it, but gets sort of a phobia.
But you have such an art to describe these films, that it is like therapy for me! So please do carry on!

sophy said...

No doubt India leads the world in noise pollution. In Bombay and Delhi these days you can call the police but there's no hope if you go to the rural areas. And like a Rajnikanth movie, the bad guys are nto the ones who make the noise but the more urbane ones who can think enough to get disturbed by these things.

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Nicki Yup no doubt it is mine as well, it's so Indian which is why the movie is a real winner for me

@ Avdi the snakes weren't in there like say how they were in Snakes on a plane but i can understand how someone with an hatred for snakes might avoid this

@ Dustedoff LOL i remember we've had this conversation before,I 've indeed seen Nagin with Vyjayanthimala and apart from the songs & costumes, its not one i care for

@ Rum lol you'll be pleased to know that you aren't the only one who practiced the snake dances, i have heard lots of tales from people tying shower curtains on their head to imiate sridevi's veil to tales of tumbling down stairs in a hurry like Sridevi

@ Sharmi Thanks,Indeed the songs of Nagin 1954 are what make it memorable, the storyline is quite dull

@ Nasir Lol at your Reena and Sridevi comment,it's a difficult choice to choose between those two, i love them both and thanks for liking by saas-bahu-saap commentary

You know sadma is a film i really have to see, i have read loads about it and as for Gumrah its almost impossible to get hold of on dvd

@ Sophy Wow she taught at your school, what was she like as a teavher, i've always liked Sushma Seth, pity she got typecast as the mother in law, but then she's a great example of making the most of what you get assigned to, she's unforgettable no matter how typecast she might have been. and yes Hiss is a holly/bolly production, though its maker is American who gort inspired to do a modern take on the sanke woman phenomenon in hindi films. Below is an interview where she speaks a bit about the film
@ Bollyviewer Lol,i can imagine how it must feel, thankfully i wasn't in the same environment as i imagine it would have taken away from me enjoying this flick. don't worry I'm well aware of the fact that Sridevi isn't everyone's cup of tea, but i simply pyar her

@ Sunehriyaadein I have seen Nagin with Pradeep its not as interesting as this but the songs are fab, watch it for the songs and costumes but the story ain't all that

@ Harvey bahut bahut Shukriya You're quite right i enjoy these movies so much and guess it shows in my write up when I've really enjoyed a film

@ Sophy Lol, I'm yet to visit India and i can't wait to, i'll be sure to get a taste of all areas both urbane and rural

sophy said...

BD: Sushma Seth taught me elocution. I remember this poem from "My Fair Lady" where she calls out "Roses". Sushma had this theatrical touch. One daughter(either Priya or Divya --don't remember) was also in my class.

AMODINI said...

I remember seeing this one - was a big hit too then. Sridevi seemed perfect for this role.

bollywooddeewana said...

Thanks for taht story Sophy, i'm sure she must have been an awesome teacher

@ Amodini Yes indeed, its a role that just seemed to be etched for her

Daddy's Girl said...

Love this review, and the comments too!! Sridevi can do no wrong in my book, I love her, and I can't wait to see her in this - I haven't seen Nagin or Nagina yet, although I think I have them both. Bollywooddeewana, you will absolutely LOVE India when you visit. I loved how it reminded me so much of home and yet was so different.

Sujoy said...

Oh the sweet joy of 80s saap-bahu-saap drama. LOL. The blue eyed Sridevi confronting Bhairon Nath and his been, and the monumental dance in Main Teri Dushman - those were the earliest ememories of cinema in any for for me.

Thanks for bringing back those memories to me. :) Let me find the DVD of this one :)

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Daddy's girl Thanks so much, indeed i cannot wait to visit myself, i know whenever i do its bound to be exciting

@ Sujoy Glad you found saas bahu saap funny, indeed i myself have those early memories as well, as well as trying to copy her snake break dance moves, aahh the shame

Amaluu said...

I linked up this post and a bunch of your other Sridevi posts at for Sridevipalooza! Keep me posted on any new Sridevi posts!

bollywooddeewana said...

Thanks Amaluu, i myself will be joining sridevipaloozaaa in a couple of days

Anonymous said...

I remember loving this movie as a kid, I watched it again and again.

Huge Sreedevi fan, I was...still am, I guess :)

Lovely review, bought good memories :)

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Nishitak Thanks i love Sridevi too and this isa Sridevi classic its one everyone keeps mentioning time and time again. But as far as snake flick goes the 1976 Nagin with Reena Roy is still my favourite, watch that one too if you can

Scandalous_Diva said...

I love this film ! And am actually quite fascinated by this whole woman turning into snake concept ! - I am odd I know ! Lol ! :) But seriously though i did watch nagina a whole lotta times and Sri Devi was fierce ! I LOVE the reena roy one as well with jeetendra ! :)

And there was this tv serial on Sahara One as well called Nagin - based on this same concept - LOVED it ! :)

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Scandalous Diva i like Nagina but I think I would have to use love for Reena's Nagin as it was simply full of thrills, they surely don't make the snake movies like they used to anymore

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Shalet Jimmy said...

You said it right. It had an ' Indian' ness into it...

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