Figurines of three nasty-looking serpents flanked by three poised actresses welcomed the media at a Mumbai venue on Tuesday evening. The popular television show Naagin is slithering into view for a third season on June 2, and will have three female characters instead of one.
Produced by Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms for the Colors television channel, the reptilian saga starred Mouni Roy in the lead role for the first two seasons. Roy has departed for Bollywood after playing Shivanya, who was killed at the end of the second season.
The new set of episodes features Karishma Tanna, Anita Hassanandani and Surbhi Jyoti. “The show is based on revenge,” Jyoti said in an interview at the event. “It is not a new concept. We have grown up watching Naagin’s stories on film and television. Of course, Naagin is our own wonder woman.”
In keeping with the show’s main theme of revenge intertwined with love, the new season will revolve around Ruhi (Tanna), a serpent who finally reunites with her lover after years. But when an evil force comes between the lovers, she vows revenge. “My character is in love and she comes back and does shape shifting to take revenge,” Tanna said. “The basic reason for her revenge is her love.”
The latest season will move into new directions, the cast promised. “It is like a fresh start,” Hassanandani (Kkavyanjali, Ye Hai Mohabbatein) said. “You are playing a different role and you are starting from zero. Ekta [Kapoor] called me up one day and asked if I would do Naagin and I was jumping out of joy. I did not even know what the part was, but said yes. I then fell in love with the narration and my character.”
Hassanandani plays Vishaka, a serpent with dark shades. But the treatment will be subtle, the actress assured. “It is a difficult character to portray,” Hassanandani said. “The brief given to me was that you are doing bitchy stuff, but it shouldn’t look bitchy. So it is a very subtle thing. When you do regular soaps, there is a bit of overacting. So I had to take care of underplaying it.”
Jyoti, whose credits include the hit romantic show Qubool Hai, agreed that playing a serpent was a different ballgame. She plays Bela, the docile daughter of an innocent farmer. “The show is completely different from my role in Qubool Hai,” Jyoti said. “Of course, there are going to be comparisons. But where there is a challenge, there is going to be a fruitful result.”
As far as preparations are concerned, the cast declared that believing in their characters was half the work done. “When Superman flies, he does not doubt his capabilities and think about who does this kind of thing,” Jyoti said. “I just had to convince myself that there were serpents who could take human form. The moment you convince yourself, you can convince anybody else, and that is what I did.”
Pearl V Puri (Naagarjun-Ek Yoddha), who plays Jyoti’s romantic interest in the show, argued that Naagin is made up of as much reality as fantasy. “The characterisation in the show is very real,” Puri said. “It is very difficult to make a supernatural show very real. And trust me, they have done it this time. The VFX and special effects quality are tremendous and the best till date.”
The cast unanimously attributed the show’s monumental success to the high-octane drama. “In television, the script is the king and the credit goes to Balaji Telefilms,” Hassanandani said. “There is so much drama and intrigue that you want to watch more. I am sure that after Naagin 3, people would want a Naagin 4.” This also means that the pressure to be accepted is high: “At some point, I did feel some pressure that it is already so popular with a cast including Mouni Roy. I just told myself that it is all about your giving your 100 per cent,” Hassanandani added.