In honour of Nag Panchami (which takes place on August 4th), Liz over at My Year of Prakash Raj has organized a two-week blog festival devoted to the glory of the snake film. I could not resist the chance to participate.
But I did wonder: could I find a Malayalam snake film? Sadly, my searching didn't turn up one I could watch, but it did lead me to this song, "Nanma Cheyyanam" from the 1965 film Sarpakkadu:
Okay, I have to confess, this leaves me with a few unanswered questions. What I do know about the film is that it was directed by J. D. Thottan, and the cast included respect actors Madhu and Sukumari (a Padma Shree awarded actress whom I've seen most recently as Prithviraj's mother in Classmates). And that's it. I wonder about the title, though: it reminds me a lot of "sarpa kavu", the traditional forest spaces in Kerala set aside for the worship of snakes (and which seem to be rich natural reserves as well). I think what fascinates me about the whole idea of snake worship is the belief that snakes bring happiness and wealth, which is why, apparently, it's not uncommon to find a snake shrine in many gardens. I know I always think of snakes as something to be feared, not something that bring good fortune, but one source I was reading suggested that snake worship comes out of the idea that the things we fear (in this case, snakes) are also things that should be respected (and, by extension, I suppose, worshipped).
I'd be grateful if anyone can illuminate me more on this film -- its title, meaning, and if you've seen the film, what it's actually about. Add it to the list of films I hope I can see one day. But even doing this little search and a bit of reading about the importance of snakes and snake workship in Kerala served, unexpectedly to illuminate something I was having trouble grasping in Siddique's Bodyguard (the original Malayalam version), so, happily, I'll be able to talk about snakes next Monday as well!