News broke out yesterday that Shraddha Kapoor is all set to play the lead in a Nagin trilogy, created by Vishal Furia and produced by Nikhil Dwivedi. This is huge news; Nagins are not only powerful female goddesses in Indian folklore, they also represent adivasi and tribal populations, whose beliefs and customs are brought to the forefront.
Nagin movies have huge mass appeal. Apart from being box office hits and entertaining to all, they also rely hugely on leading ladies to take them on. These badass women have been iconic Nagins:
1. Vyjayanthimala, Nagin 1954
Vyjayanthimala is graceful and gorgeous and incredible as Mala, a girl from the Nagi tribe of snake charmers. Nagi and Ragi, two tribes of snake charmers, are always at loggerheads with each other. However, things take a turn when a girl from Nagi falls in love with a man from Ragi. This movie is about star-crossed lovers, but you should watch it for Vyjayanthimala’s stunning dancing and divine grace. The OG Nagin!
2. Reena Roy, Nagin 1976
The plot is absolutely chilling: a female shape-shifting serpent takes various human forms to trick and murder the group of friends who brutally killed her lover during their hunting party. The beautiful Reena Roy plays the titular role of Nagin who wields her powers to avenge her lover. You can watch this movie on MXPlayer!
3. Sridevi, Nagina 1986 and Nigahen 1989
The late and great Sridevi starred in the 1986 blockbuster hit film, Nagina as Rajni, a Nagini who marries a civilian to avenge the death of her spouse at the hands of an evil saint. Opposite her is Rishi Kapoor, who is her husband Raj. Things take a turn when Bhairo Nath informs her mother-in-law that Rajni is a shape-shifting snake. This movie is a fine example of Srideviji’s incredible versatility and talent. The second part of this series, Nigahen, came out in 1989, and has Sridevi alongside Sunny Deol.
4. Rekha, Sheshnaag 1990
The late 80s and early 90s had a lot of movie releases that mixed the supernatural with the thriller genres. Rekha’s 1990 movie Sheshnaag is one such mix-breed. Pritam and Banu, two shape-shifting snakes in human form, seek protection from a young man when an evil priest tries to hunt them down and use them in a ritual for wealth and immortality. Rekha is Champa, a powerful Nagini who is just as radiant as she is badass.
Shraddha Kapoor said that having grown up on a steady diet of Sridevi’s films, she feels honoured to be playing an ‘ichadaari nagin’ in this new trilogy. We wonder how many of these amazing leading ladies will be channeled in her performance!