The most baffling aspect of Naaga Pratishtha is the title itself. It may be one
of those abstract and profound subjects (the title, not the movie). Or it may
have been designed to draw away attention from the uncanny resemblance the movie
shares with Nagina, Nigaahein, Naagin, Naaga Devatha or any other of those N-movies.
The irony of the fact is that the snakes in most of these movies spend more than
90 percent of their time disguised as glam-dolls (d-uh).
Anyway, the characters. Nagalakshmi (Raasi) is the only daughter of a peasant couple. Bit by a snake in infancy, cured miraculously by the snake-goddess, this dame is doomed from birth. J K Rowling described the language of the snakes as "Parselmouth". This lady seems to have done a crash course in it as she acts as a mediator between the snake and the villagers.
Her only fallacy: she loves this dunce Aditya (Sijju), who studies in the city and meets her occasionally under the pretext of coming home to meet his family (considering his family isn't exactly very home-coming-inducing). She gets married to him against the wishes of his family. He leaves her at home to go abroad promising to come back as soon as possible, which turns out to be a little too late (and why am I not surprised).
The poor heroine is tormented and done away with. And yahoo! The snake-goddess descends into her body and starts making merry. Her things-to-do list includes:
1. Punishing all the people who do not worship her,
2. Awing the bad magician Bhairav (Rami Reddy) with a show of her dance talent, and if all fails, killing him, and
3. Converting all the evildoers into her disciples (so much more milk on Nagapanchami).
The snake goddess played by Raasi in the latter half looks like an anaconda rather than any of the poisonous variety. The other actors aren't worth a mention except for Jayaprakash who plays the hero's (all thanks to the inadequacies of English) uncle. He is good in the comedy tracks, but unfortunately nothing good lasts forever, and the director decides to add him to the bad guys' camp.
Songs usually provide relief in movies, and this movie is no exception. The relief here is that there aren't many songs to torment you. The director should have been more faithful as far as the copying part is concerned, as in an attempt to be original he meanders from the beaten track and errs repeatedly. The cinematography is no great shakes as scenes shot at spots like Secret Lake and the like increase the feeling that you have seen it all.
So that's Nagapratishta-made-easy for you. All said and done, this movie is strictly
for devotees of the snake-goddess who pour gallons of milk into snake pits and
kill those poor reptiles either by suffocating them or by giving them stomach
upsets. Here's a thought in closing: what happens to a snake with a tummy upset?