The franchise system took a long time to become popular in India. There were spin-offs now and then, like the Soorma Bhopali character from Sholay had two films – but spin-offs were still a strict no no, until, they became common. However, the first legit franchise of Bollywood is the Nagina franchise, the first film being named thus. The film stars Rishi Kapoor, Sridevi, Amrish Puri, Sushma Sheth and others.
Nagina was one of the few supernatural based films to be a blockbuster. It proved that even a film with supernatural elements could work well with good production values and great performances.
Sridevi plays Rajni, an orphan who’s in love with Rajiv, who’s from a rich, landowning family. While there is some initial opposition to the marriage, Rajiv’s mother finally relents and allows the wedding to take place.
It is only later, when a tantrik that the family reveres, Bhairo Nath, comes into the picture that the family finds out about Rajni being an icchadari snake (shapeshifter) who is hellbent on killing everyone in the family. Why is she doing this? Well, you can watch the film to find out.
Nagina is a supernatural film that made into mainstream cinema because of its production values, star cast and general ‘big’ ness. Amrish Puri, undoubtedly one of the greatest performers of all time, gave his all to the Bhairo Nath character. That’s the character in those ‘Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe’ memes.
Nagina gave rise to countless clones. We could have an entire website dedicated to the number of snake-films that Bollywood has given. We will certainly try to recap all of them.
The film was such a great – and surprising – success that the film makers decided to make a sequel for it. That sequel starred Sridevi, Sunny Deol and Anupam Kher. It had a cameo by Amrish Puri. However, that film was not a success and tanked, thereby closing filmmaker’s minds to the aspect of sequels once again. Surprisingly, the film is not yet available on YouTube, but it is available on Amazon at a dirt-cheap price:
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