Undeterred by the failures of their films Kis Kis Ki Kismat and Bachke Rehna Re Baba, Mallika Sherawat and her director friend Govind Menon are now working on Naagin – The Snake Woman.
The snake movie's director is Jennifer Lynch who has helmed films like Boxing Helena (weird) and whose Sur veillance (ditto).
The actress' broth er Vikram Lamba is co-producing the film along with Menon, under the banner of Split Image Pictures. The film also features Irrfan Khan.
Menon says about the director, "We've been fans of her filmmaker father David Lynch.. and her Boxing Hele na is an impressive film."
On being asked why he chose a subject as old as Naagin, Nagina, Nigaahen - about an ichhadaari snake which transforms into a woman at will - he counters, "Why not? The west has its films on vampires, werewolves. So why can't we make more films on ichhadaari snakes?"
Jennifer Lynch was approached with the idea of making the project in the league of Hollywood's Cat People and The American Werewolf in London. Although the concept is his, Jennifer researched the subject and wrote the script. "In fact, there are several things she found out which I wasn't even aware of. Like women who can't conceive frequently visit snake temples to pray for a child," he says.
The script moves from 1800 to the present times. Menon states,"While researching, we learnt that the belief in ichhadaari snakes existed even during the Indus Valley Civilisation. We got a lot of information from Kerala's Mannarshala temple, the largest snake temple in the country ."
The producer hopes to shoot there after acquiring the permissions. Jennifer Lynch was in the country recently, to check out locations in Kerala. However, they have no plans of filming at Red Hills near Ambattur in Tamil Nadu, which is home to a community that worships snakes.
No animal, no worry Menon is not perturbed about acquiring permissions from the Animal Welfare Board of India because he won't be shooting with snakes. A special effects whiz, Robert Kurtzman, is doing the visual effects and animatronics.
Financed by Ratan Jain's Venus Films, Naagin will start shooting next month. Menon plans to release it sometime in the summer of 2009.