One of Bollywood’s iconic roles — shape-shifting ‘naagin’– is deep-rooted in Indian folklore. This role has been revolutionised by several top actors of their times.
Previously, Vyjayanthimala, Reena Roy, Rekha and Sridevi have played similar roles.
After Jaya Parda rejected the role of a shape-shifting serpent, Sridevi bagged the role and went onto become the ultimate Nagin of Bollywood. Director Harmesh Malhotra had approached Sridevi for the role of Icchadhari Nagin – Rajni. The actress created magic on the screen and her performance was so powerful that people even forgot Reena Roy’s portrayal of Nagin. Sridevi’s popular Nagin dance was choreographed by ace choreographer Saroj Khan. It was a humongous success at the box office and she also starred in the sequel of Nagina, Nigaheh. Sridevi had won Filmfare Best Actress Award for the role of Nagin in Nagina.
The timeless beauty of Indian Cinema essayed the role of a naagin in the 1990 multi-starrer ‘Shehnaag’. It featured Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor, Madhavi and Mandakini in pivotal roles.
The fantasy film revolved around the story of two shape-shifting snakes who are being chased by an evil priest to attain immortality.
Vyjayanthimala, the first South Indian actress who become a national star and made way for other south Indian actresses to foray into Bollywood, was known for some brilliant performances in films like ‘Madhumati’, ‘Naya Daur’, ‘Leader’, ‘Jewel Thief’, ‘Sangam’ and many more.
In 1954 romantic film ‘Nagin’, Vyjayanthimala starred opposite Pradeep Kumar as his lady love. The duo played the characters of Mala and Sanatan, adivasis belonging to two different tribes. Helmed by Nandlal Jaswantlal, the film was written by Rajendra Krishan Hameed Butt and Bijon Bhattacharya.
One of the most popular ‘naagins’ of Bollywood, Reena Roy played a female serpent in 1976 film ‘Nagin’. The multi-starrer horror thriller starred Sunil Dutt, Feroz Khan, Jeetendra, Sanjay Khan, Rekha, Mumtaz, Vinod Mehra, Yogeeta Bali, Kabir Bedi and Anil Dhawan.
Reena played a shape-shifting serpent, who takes various human forms to trick and murder the group of friends.