The Icchadari Nagin: Sridevi in Nagina

A young man, Raj, returns to his ancestral mansion, which is deep in the interiors of India. He goes on a horse cart ride with his childhood friend, Rajani, and sees an older mansion, which is his ancestral mansion. The two young people get close to each other, and they decide to go on a ride in the morning. They decide to do so on a buggy and come across an old mansion His childhood friend says that the old mansion has their family temple too. While they are on the road, a couple of snakes stop his way, and a snake even enters the mansion. In a coincidence, the friend is thrown off the buggy.

The next day, Raj is on a ride and once again reaches the mansion, and even hears a voice from the place. That night, he is once again intrigued by the mansion and in the morning, Raj goes to the mansion all by himself.

When he finally reaches the mansion, he sees a woman dressed in white, singing a haunting memory. He confronts the girl, and the girl tells him that they have played in this mansion when they were young. Though he doesn’t remember anything, he feels faint when he reaches the temple inside the mansion.

At night, he asks his mother about the mansion, but his mother admonishes him, and he becomes more and more attracted to the mansion, and visits the mansion almost every day. He is invited to a programme in the village, but hoodwinks his way out of it to meet the girl, called Rajani, once again. The two get close to each other.

When Raj’s mother finds out that he is getting closer to another girl, she quickly settles his marriage with Ajay Singh’s daughter, a family friend. During a conversation, Ajay Singhr talks about a specific incident that had him become the owner of the complete property, but had at that time written that all the property was actually owned by Raj himself.

When he learns that Raj wants to marry someone else, he sends a hoodlum to kill the woman, but she escapes from his clutches, and a snake kills the hoodlum before he can do anything fatal.

When Raj’s mother finally meets Rajani, she immediately agrees to have them married. The Thakur tries to kill everyone, but the two snakes stop his gangsters from leaving their hideout. The wedding takes place without a hitch, and then we find out that the family respects a tantrik, who is also a snake charmer.

The snake charmer meets Raj and Rajani, and he tells them that there is a poisonous snake in the house. Raj’s mother requests the snakecharmer to do away with the issue. He says that he will come to the house someday and take the snake away.

In between all this, Ajay Singh tries to usurp the entire property, and everything hinges on the papers that he had signed a long while ago. Raj now needs to find the papers. Rajani uses her snake powers to find the file. Ajay Singh’s hoodlums find out that the Raj has found the file and try to stop him, Rajani seduces Raj and tries to stop him from going to the lawyer, but is unsuccessful. He gets attacked by some hoodlums and someone once again sends a snake in the hospital where he is recuperating, but Rajani’s snake kills that snake. She also confronts the snakecharmer, and tells him to stay away from her family.

The Snakecharmer now tells Raj’s mother that her daughter-in-law is a shape shifting snake, and will change her shape once in the night, and that she’d could see it for herself. The mother makes a ruse of having fever, and Rajani sleeps in her room to take care of her.

In the night, Raj’s mother sees Rajani shapeshifting and Rajani confesses to her about her shape shifting capabilities. Raj;’s mother visits the Snakecharmer again, and he tells her that he will capture the snake. Finally, Rajani tells Raj’s mother that years ago when Raj was bitten by a snake in the old mansion, the snakecharmer had taken a snake’s life and imbued it into Raj. The snake that had died, was actually Rajani’s snake husband – and therefore Raj was Rajani’s husband technically.

It is during this backstory that we also find out that the snakecharmer wants to capture the two snakes because they know where a precious and poerfu

Though Rajani promises Raj’s mother that no harm will come to them, she sends Raj away and brings the snakecharmer at home, and he tries to capture her. However, Raj returns in time and tries to beat up the snakecharmer, but fails, until his mother is injured in the fight. Raj then defeats him in a fight.

In the end, the snakecharmer and Rajani reconcile, when Rajani tries to detox the poison out of the snakecharmer’s body. However, the charmer says that he has learnt his lesson, and would only want that her family live happily ever after. Here are the three things that made this movie memorable for us:

The Icchadari Nagin

Agreed, the Icchadari nagin trope has been done a bit in Bollywood, but Sridevi pwned the role, and may say that his was her return to divahood. Sridevi is a talented actress, and the manner in which she played this seemingly campy role and made it look all good tells us about the quality of skill that she has as an actress.

Amrish Puri as the Snakecharmer

Amrish Puri was an industry unto himself, and one of the most sore losses that the film industry will ever have. He was a spout of acting technique, and the manner he played the role of a powerful snakecharmer acted as a template for many other actors who would play such a role in the future.

The Slomo Fight

Accept it, though both are Punjabis, Rishi Kapoor could never believably beat up Amrish Puri, hell, the only people to have done that convincingly are Dharmendra, Sunny and Sanjay. So, how does the director bring in the dramatics in the climax, that’s correct – slo mo!

This was the movie that rejuvenated the horror and mythology scenario, and Sridevi went on to act in the first sequel of Bollywood, Nigahein.

Leave a Reply