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S Mukerji: How His Movie ‘Nagin’ Created The Cult Classic

Sashadhar Mukerji became a legend in his own lifetime. Popularly known as S Mukherji, his contribution to the Indian film industry remains unparalleled. Mukerji, who initially joined Bombay Talkies and went on to create Filmistan and Filmalaya Studios was known as the man with Midas touch. Everything was a hit – his movies, stars, songs. In fact, people who worked closely with Mukerji say that he had an ear for music. They say he had the knack of picking the right ones when a music director gave him a choice of 10 tunes for a song. Naturally this success created a lot of enemies within the industry, and they would spread rumours about his movie. A similar thing happened in 1954 when he released Nagin, famous for its song Man Dole Mera, Tan Dole Mera sung by Lata Mangeshkar to the accompaniment of Been music.  His rivals said snakes were entering the cinema halls the moment Been music played. This rumour kept the audience away from the theatres for a few days. But, not for long. Not only was the movie a super hit but the Been music became synonymous with snakes and snake charmers. And of course, the movie established Vyjayanthimala’s career as a star.