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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Snakes that charms the viewers......

Author: Chez Shay from United Kingdom
11 September 2005

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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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The Snake That Held Our Attention And Stayed In Mind

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
8 July 2008

For me, 'Nagina' is one of the few very enjoyable Hindi films of the 80s. Harmesh Malhotra struggled a lot to find a leading lady for this mythological yet modernized fantasy thriller but all these actresses, not willing to take the risk, turned down the part. It finally went to Sridevi as, one would know after watching the film, 'Nagina' was only meant for her. Many famous Indian actresses, like Reena Roy and Rekha, have been witnessed to play snakewoman on screen but none of them have reached the proportion that Sridevi has with 'Nagina'. Who remembers a Rekha or a Reena Roy in such an avatar. One snakewoman is mentioned then it is Sridevi's 'Nagina' that comes to mind.

The script has its share of flaws. Note that this is an 80's movie (when commercial Hindi films were at their lowest but 'Nagina' shines and manages to stay above). I like how Malhotra sets the tone and lets the events unfold, keeping the viewers engaged. Sridevi is first portrayed as a bubbly village belle but as the plot unfolds, actress slowly peels each layer of her character, catching one by surprise but in a very believable way. Malhotra maintains the suspense and surprise element very well.

The background score is very annoying and the songs (with the exception of the last one) are terrible. 'Main Teri Dushman' is one song that lingers and it is shot quite brilliantly with Amrish Puri's snake charmer tormenting Sridevi's 'Rajni'. It is also well known for Sridevi's energetic performance as she sets the floor on fire with the most famous 'snake dance' on screen.

Clearly, 'Nagina' belongs to the magnificent Sridevi. Without her, there is no 'Nagina'. Whether it's as the mistress of the house who lives a double life, the concerned daughter-in-law, the protective wife or the tormented snakewoman, Sridevi pulls it off with ease and elegance. Sushma Seth is good as the mother and Rishi Kapoor and Prem Chopra are adequate. Amrish Puri is great as the over-the-top evil Bhairon Nath.

Though it has its flaws, 'Nagina' is a gem from the 1980's commercial Hindi cinema. One I tremendously enjoyed as a child, one that I still enjoy today.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Amazing, beautiful, gorgeous

Author: aambika sharma from a usa
24 July 2007

A beautiful film with excellent performances by Sridevi, the snakes, Amrish Puri, Rishi Kapoor and Sushma Seth. I adore Sridevi and she looks beautiful as ever. I am not a fan of her but whenever i watch this film or Himmatwala i just love her. The acting, the dances, the eyes, the costumes are just amazing.

I don't know if its a remake or whatever but i love the film. Rishi Kapoor looks gorgeous and acts well. Sushma i think played Rishi's mom in many films but her acting talent is shown as a mom in this one. The snakes act very well. When Sridevi dances shes like a goddess. She can dance and look beautiful at same time. Main teri dushman, dushman tu mera, i loved her in that song as well as all the other songs on her in the movie. Its a super hit film. If your a bollywood freak and don't mind watching old films of 1980s i think you should check it out. Sridevi fans can love her in this one. She is a dream of every women to be like her, look like her, dance like her. Sridevi dances to seduce her hubby but she is covered with clothes in that song when people today try to show more sex in seductive songs but cinema at its best to watch with family and at that time its a perfect one.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This movie is great.

Author: mackatrack from Edmonton, Alberta
5 December 2000

This movie is great. It has a great story and it is one of the best Hindi movies of all time. It stars Sri Devi, Rishi Kapoor and Amrish Puri. Sri Devi does excellent acting and Amrish Puri portrays the sage perfectly. I think that everybody that likes Hindi movies should watch this.

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One of the classic movie which ruled at that time...

Author: Paresh Patel from India
18 October 2016

I was 7 when I saw this movie, still remember that old "Shiva" temple where gorgeous Sridevi in white dress roam singing around. It was so spellbound, the beauty and charm she had on her face cannot be forgotten.

You can watch this movie to remember those classic days when there were actors like Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Amrish Puri who acted so naturally. To feel the nature and environment of those times. The story around snakes might not interest you much at this time, but do not judge the movie from that angle.

And of course, you can definitely watch the movie to admire Sridevi in her beautiful village girl yet charming looks.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Classic Movie

Author: apursansar from Columbus
26 June 2003

This movie is definitely a classic. I used to love watching it as a kid. If you are willing to suspend your disbelief or if you are a little kid, you'll like the movie. If you like snakes, you might like the movie. It's about a woman who can turn into a snake. It's great.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The story of a snake woman

Author: shivakumarvishwa from India
10 July 2008

I say this movie after finishing my 9th standard.I must say a great movie.Direction is magnificent.Sridevi is in top form here.She gives an amazing performance.Rishi is also in top form here giving a great performance.Sushma is also in top notch here with a great role and a great performance.The others are in top notch here too.Snakes are the star of the show along with Sridevi.The performances of the snakes is magnificent.The scenes like Sridevis introducing scenes song and changing into snakes are magnificent.The climax scenes song"Main Tera Dushman"is a MASTERPIECE sung to perfection by Kavitha Krishnamurthy.Climax scenes is mind blowing and pictured superbly.On the whole,a great movie

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