My (sort of) goal for the Nag Panchami Film Fesssstival is to try and write up a snake film from all of the different Indian regions/film industries. So to kick things off, I'm starting with the 1979 Tamil film:
In this remake of the Hindi Nagin, a pair of serpents frolic about in the woods in human form. When the male serpent, played by Chandra Mohan* is attacked by the most cheesy looking eagle/hawk/monster ever, a young biologist named Kamal (Kamal Hassan) shoots the eagle and saves him. By way of thanks, the serpent reveals his true nature to the biologist and there's more snakey dancing.
At a birthday party that evening, Kamal and his friends are hanging out in the woods, smoking, drinking and spying on the snake lady dancing in her human form (as you do at birthday parties.) When the male snake approaches her in snake form, Kamal's friend freaks and shoots the snake.
The female snake (played by the human Sripriya) vows to avenge her lover's death. She follows the friends back to the city, takes the form of various ladies, and one-by-one kills the friends. After each death, there's another song where she flashes back to dancing with her snake-lover. (But there are no dances with Kamal Hassan, which I don't understand.)
What I most enjoyed about the vengeance scenes was that each of the actresses got an opportunity to play the predatory snake spirit.
|She just spit venom into the wineglass,|
and is about to hand it back to her prey.
|She lured her quarry into the bedroom.|
As the bodies pile up, the friends become more fearful. One of the men arrives home to find his wife/love interest reading this book, and accuses her of being possessed by the snake spirit:
Kamal is equally confused by the behavior of his lady love (is she another snake?)
At the end, Kamal flees with the surviving child of the dead friend and is pursued by the snake onto a wire/rope strung between two buildings:
In the end, our snake woman is reunited with her snake man:
As far as I can tell, it's the same Chandra Mohan who I've seen in a dozen Telugu films as a father/uncle. If it's too bad he doesn't get to dance anymore.