|The Wife (Vijayalakshmi)|
The original story comes from Kannada folk tale. The story was recounted by A. K. Ramanujan to
Girish Karnad who went on to write a play based on the tale (in 1988). Less than a decade later a film was made on the story.
There are many points of divergence between the play and the film. Karnad's Nagamandala starts with another Kannada folktale, a playwright cursed with death for making people fall asleep with his productions. To escape death he has to stay awake all-night on a particular day of the month and to help him stay awake 'story' comes. This is the story of a Cobra who falls in love with a woman.
|The blind old woman (B. Jayashree in a wonderful performance)|
Soon enough she finds herself pregnant. Appanna gets violently furious at her when she happily breaks the news to her. He claims he never touched her so how could he be the father. Rani is surprised and shocked at her husbands behavior. She swears he is the father. To settle the matter a session of village council is orders. At night Cobra in the form of Appanna visits Rani who is still in a state of bewilderment and finally a bit of anger. But the night ends with Rani's situation hitting a new strange note: At night her husband now offers a solutions, he advises her to go for the "hand-in-the-anthill" test to prove her innocence.
|The Cobra test of a Pativrata|
|The Snake and The Husband (Prakash Rai)|
|The Mistress (Vanita Vasu)|