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Nagina (1986)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 345 users  
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Rajiv comes from a very wealthy family, and lives in a palatial home with his mother, who would like him to get married to a beautiful young woman named Vijaya Singh, the only daughter of ... See full summary »

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Title: Nagina (1986)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Rajiv
...
Prem Chopra ...
Thakur Ajay Singh
Komal Mahuvakar ...
Vijaya Singh (as Komal Madhuvakar)
Sushma Seth ...
Rajiv's mother
Jagdeep ...
Munshiji
Pinchoo Kapoor ...
Advocate
Viju Khote ...
Singh
Guddi Maruti ...
Banumati
Chhote Ustad ...
Photographer
Manmauji ...
Khushmillah Shah
Sham Awasthi
Dev Sharma
Aditya Sharma
Satya Devi
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Storyline

Rajiv comes from a very wealthy family, and lives in a palatial home with his mother, who would like him to get married to a beautiful young woman named Vijaya Singh, the only daughter of Thakur Ajay Singh. But Rajiv is in love with a woman named Rajni, who is an orphan and has no family background. When Rajiv mentions this to his mother, she opposes this marriage, but relents when she meets with Rajni and sees that she is a indeed a beautiful woman. Both get married and live harmoniously for quite some time - until the arrival of Bhairo Nnath a religious man, who is capable of controlling snakes. He informs Rajiv's mom that the woman, Rajni, is a shape-shifting venomous snake who has married Rajiv to avenge the death of her spouse years ago when Rajiv was a child. What Rajiv's mom does not know that Bhairavnath has a secret agenda in entrapping Rajni, a secret - the knowledge of which will shatter and change their lives forever. This movie to be followed by a sequel called "Nigahen: ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Romance

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Connections

Referenced in Bride & Prejudice (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Aaj Kal Yaad Kucch Aur Rahta Nahin
Sung by Mohammed Aziz
Music composed by Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma (as Laxmikant Pyarelal)
Lyrics by Anand Bakshi
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User Reviews

Snakes that charms the viewers......
11 September 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The role of the Snake-Woman had been rejected by many leading ladies of the mid '80s. Most of them were unwilling to take a risk in their fairly new but stable careers by signing a film which had a story and screenplay written by two newcomers and a not-so-successful producer/director. Although Harmesh Malhotra has gone on record to say that he was very disappointed at the response he'd received from his fellow industry members, the audience were too entranced by Sridevi's performance to be worried about the "what-ifs?!" In fact, it's hard to imagine Nagina without Sridevi so I find it very difficult to understand why Malhotra hadn't approached her for this role in the first place? Much has been written about how this is the film that "made" Sridevi. I totally disagree as I firmly believe instead that Sridevi "made" the film. Her dedication and professionalism seeps through the entire film and its apparent that only an actor of her calibre could execute such a strong performance from a questionable script and low-budgeted film.

Ten years earlier, "Nagin" with it's snake-woman storyline only succeeded because it was a multi-starrer film and the snake assumed the form of almost every female actor that was in the star cast. And if that wasn't confusing enough, the audience couldn't decide if their sympathies lied with the Nagin (who was revenging the loss of her beloved but ultimately killed herself) or with the male characters that were being killed off one-by-one by her? Was the Nagin the villain or not – who knows? Who cares? In "Nagina" however, there is a steady build-up to the character played by Sridevi and it's not until two-thirds of the film is complete, and the emergence of Amrish the Sapera that we realise that she is actually a snake-woman. Before that, we assume that Sri and Rishi are reincarnated as lovers who have the protection of two snakes for a nearby derelict mandir.

Or, we're led to believe that it's a film about an inheritance dispute with Prem Chopra swindling Rishi's family out of their wealth. But, we realise later that Prem isn't the main villain at all.

And then, we assume that the film is about Saas-Bahu relationship as Sushma Seth, the mother-in-law doesn't accept her son's choice of spouse. But even here, we're proved wrong as Sushma warms to her bahu as soon as she sees her.

If these red-herrings aren't enough, Sridevi, in the first portion of the film appears extremely subdued and mellow in comparison to all the other films that we've previously seen her in. Not only does she sound different (this being one of the first Hindi films that she actually used her own voice and wasn't dubbed for) but also, you'll notice from the first three songs, that her dancing is at a slower pace and without the jhatkas-matkas that are always expected from her.

With any other film, the audience would probably get confused with the plot and walk out of the theatre. But "Alak Niranjan", in walks Amrish Puri with his snake sniffing skills and his magical "been" and to everyone's surprise (not at least the Mother in Laws), Sridevi reveals the other side of her character.

Then in every scene that follows, we get more excited seeing her transform from a loving pativrata nari into a Nag-Goddess, protecting her husband and family. The icing on the cake, of course, is the powerful dance at the end. A combination of her large expressive eyes, the hypnotising music and Sridevi's tremendous ability to captivate her audience but without being influenced by the Sapera, leaves the audience wanting more.

And trade-figures prove that the audience came back regularly to see more of their screen-goddess in this semi-mythological but modernly adapted character. In fact, this was the most popular film and successful film of that year. It's a shame that the "popular awards of Indian cinema" failed to recognise this. Luckily, Malhotra didn't as he made a sequel called "Nigahen" three years later which consolidated his position as an established film-maker and made him the proud recipient of an award.

Needless to say, Malhotra too became a devotee of Sridevi after worked with her in Nagina. In addition to Nigahen, he made Sherni, Banjaran and Heer Ranjha with Sridevi, and this time, for all these films, he made sure that she was given first-refusal!!


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