Okay so my pick this week isn’t strictly a Bollywood movie but it does star one of the industry’s most popular actresses – and there’s one dance number – so it stays. It’s also directed by a director I find fascinating and who has appeared on this blog once before.
It doesn’t take a genius to see why it this would appeal, it’s the tale of a vengeful snake goddess hellbent on saving her lover from a brash American villain. I know right, where do we sign up? (Netflix, naturally).
Based on the Far Eastern myth of the snake woman who is able to take on human form.
Director: Jennifer Lynch • Year: 2010
IMDB Rating: 2.9/10 • My Rating: 2.5/5
Vengeance has a new sound.
Awful American George States (Doucette) – yes really! – has terminal brain cancer and six months to live. He’s in India with a crew to capture the goddess Nagin (a shape shifting snake woman) from whom he intends to extract the “Nagmani” stone, which will grant him immortality. Obviously. He forces his reluctant henchmen to kidnap her lover (a male cobra) during their love-making session – in the belief she will come to his rescue.
If you think this film will refrain from some incredibly awkward snake-based love scenes then you are mistaken. Also please note the opening disclaimer that assures us, the viewer, that all the snakes in the film are made of rubber. Just in case you were concerned.
Anywho. Nagin does indeed come, in the form of the delectable Snake Woman (Sherawat). When she is found by a local woman who calls the cops, Snake Woman is taken in by Detective Vikram Gupta (Khan) who in turn entrusts her to his lovely wife Maya (Divya Dutta) who works for the local women’s refuge. Not before she brutally murders two rapists who grab her at the Holi festival though.
In perhaps one of the most bizarre transformation scenes of all time, SW turns into a giant cobra and attacks the shit out of them both. When she eats and then regurgitates one of them, she leaves behind a very unusual piece of evidence – one that baffles the living shit out of Vikram and his coroner.
Vikram BTW has his own issues on the home front as he lives with a confused mother-in-law and his wife, who has recently miscarried their child. There’s a lot of sadness surrounding them and a lot of pressure as MIL is desperate for a grandchild. But Vik is distracted and as the bodies start to stack up, is increasingly confused by what it all means. Especially when they can’t account for the massive quantities of venom found in the bodies.
So, what of Snake Woman while all this going down? Well, if there weren’t so many rotten apples in the village, she wouldn’t have to keep murdering them, would she? It seems no abuser is safe and it’s beautiful. But for a goddess with a mission, she’s sure taking her sweet time getting to States’ evil lair. Love, if you’ve got time to sexily writhe up a lamp post, you have time to rescue your lover – it’s not rocket science.
States’ himself is in constant pain and he’s getting impatient waiting for our snake babe. When her lover starts to show signs of decline – being kept in an electrified tank would do it – he wipes Cobra shit on his man servant and sends him out into the wild to lure her in. Meanwhile, the news is rife with tales of a giant snake saving local women from horrible situations and Vik’s MIL – who prays nightly to Nagin – comes to him in a fever dream and tells him what’s going down. He slowly starts piecing it all together and figures the mysterious woman is the key to everything.
Will States get what he needs to live out his life cancer free? Will Snake Woman get to her lover in time to save him? Will Vik and Maya ever have the much wanted baby they’ve been trying for for so long?
If you care, you know what to do.
First up, the effects are terrible/incredible and I loved how grotesque it all is. There’s a hell of a lot of writhing around and if you’re not into naked chicks or soft-core snake porn, this might not be for you. The acting is shlocky at best but Irrfan Khan has a debonair charm and I love his wife, Maya.
The real star of the show though, is Maya’s amma who isn’t even credited that I can find. I don’t truly understand her but her devotion to the goddess Nagin is endearing and her conviction that Vikram is a girl amuses me. While the gorgeous Snake Woman has all the moves and looks banging naked, she doesn’t have any lines so I can’t really judge her. She attacks her murder scenes with relish though and I guess that’s all you need from a B-movie horror heroine.
I read somewhere that Jennifer Lynch disassociated herself from the film when the movie evolved from a love story into a horror movie but I think there are still some very sweet moments. Vik and Maya finally get the happy ending they’ve been dreaming of, while even Snake Woman gets some joy out of a tragic situation.
The moral to this story I believe, is: don’t be a fucking rapist/wife-beater and you’ll be okay. And you know what? Sure this is utter garbage but as far as revenge movies go, it’s still better than Peppermint.