Shapeshifting and animal transformation are gripping themes in folklore, literature and cinema. Satyajit Ray once seriously considered making one of his most brilliant short stories ‘Khagam’ into a tele film. [See here for the plot and here for the audio torrents]. If he’d have made it, I’m sure the makers of Phoonk would have pissed in their pants out of sheer horror. Most shapeshifting dramas in Indian cinema (Nagin, Nagina) have been droll yet commercially successful attempts to cash in on a popular mythological theme, wherein a (widowed) snake woman cuts loose and unleashes a reign of revenge and terror on a motley group of spiteful crooks. Agreed, the technical accomplishments of the 70s and 80s were limited to making a few outlandish efforts of showing snake-human transformation. Why, there was even a ‘Pyasi Nagin’ spoof (shudder) in between! But with the advent of cutting edge SFX and computer generated imagery in today’s era, expectations are bound to be high. So when Jennifer Lynch announced her intent to shoot Naagin (Hissss) with the amply talented (ample and talented?) Miss Mallika Sherawat in the lead, it caused an explosive arousal of platonic interest in the plot. And now that the trailer is out, with a writhing and wriggling Ms Sherawat climbing lamp posts and vying for undivided attention amidst a lot of blood, gore and dripping tropical jungles, the wait is becoming more and more unbearable by the day. Hope the Lynch-Sherawat combo delivers.