Sridevi is the first among many female actors who shone at the box office in their own right. Nagina, India’s
first second franchise is an integral part of her filmography. Director Harmesh Malhotra and actor Sridevi proved that an icchadari nagin and the magician seeking world-ending power wasn’t just a platform for sleaze. The confrontation scenes with veteran Amrish Puri, paved Sridevi’s place in the list of incredible performers.
I have maintained that the lack of historians’ interest in this genre and decade of movies has created a chasm of the unknown. We don’t know what we lost and we don’t know what we had. Some books are now trying to change that, one of them being the book Sridevi, The Eternal Screen Goddess, by Satyarth Nayak, which you can now buy over at Amazon.
Watch Nagina here:
Every scene between Sridevi and Amrish Puri is legendary. The final scene, where Rajni wards off a horde of mendicants and Bhaironath with dance is a study in choreography. A dance student will tell you that ninety percent of a successful dance performance are the facial expressions. There are few actors who achieved that, the likes of Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Meenkshi Sheshadri, Hema Malini, Jaya Prada, Waheeda Rehman, et al. Standalone, the dance sequences in Nagina are memorable. With the below information, they become legendary and immortal:
In the book, Sridevi maintains that she dreamt of several things, including snakes. Anyone who ever had nightmares about anything will know how difficult it is to interact with the same thing in real life. In Nagina, Sridevi’s co-actors, along with the legendary Amrish Puri and lover-boy Rishi Kapoor were two snakes. In the movie, they were her rakshaks (bodyguards). Another intense scene is when her on-screen husband is hospitalized and she’s fallen asleep, only to have the two snakes thrash out another animal sent to kill.
Sridevi Dance in Nagina:
The movie was a runaway success. Thebook says that it outran the profit ratio of Karma – another movie with another magical dance performance by Sridevi. Here, Sridevi played the preyed upon woman, drenched with water, and in chains. The beginning of the song is a common glam song. The heroine dances to the villain’s tunes. The end of it is where Sridevi gives it a patriotic sign-off. A rapturous movement to ‘Har Karam Apna Karenge’. You won’t find that ending scene on YouTube, so go check out the DVD if you have one.
Sridevi was many things, chief among them, one of the greatest dancers the world has ever seen.