Naag Panchami Fesssstival Continuing Professional Development Snake Quiz

compiled by jenni

A number of readers may be interested in using the accumulated readings of the Naag Panchami Fesssstival for the purpose of accruing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for their professional snake organisation membership.  To this end, the following active CPD quiz (The Quiz) has been developed to test the knowledge and skill set you have enhanced through the knowledge you have developed over the course of the Fesssstival.

The Quiz is divided into 3 sections

1.  Snake Identification Task   (30% of total mark)

2.  Multiple Choice Questions  (30% of total mark)

3.  Essay Questions  (40% of total mark)

Response sheets can be submitted online at the conclusion of this post.  Points will be awarded based on both accurate and well expressed completion of the set tasks and your results will be forwarded to your nominated snake organisation professional development registrar.

QUIZ

1. Snake Identification Tasks

For the pictures below, please assess using the following criteria, then make an assessment based on the number of, and degree to which, snakey characteristics are met.

A.  Real Snake or Fake Snake?

a.  Wears this outfit

a.  Is accompanied by these men

Wears this headgear

Sometimes looks like this

And wears this much eyeliner?

 

B.  The following clips demonstrate which handy filmi snake skill?

 
 

C.  Real Snake or Fake Snake?

Wears this headgear

Wears this outfit

Accompanied by this man

Sometimes looks like this

Wears this much eyeliner


 
 

2.  Multiple Choice Questions

A.  If you encountered this

or  this

Would you?

a.  Run

b.  Fall on your knees and beg

c.  Whip out your snake pipe and play

d.  Ask them round for a coffee

e.  All of the above

 

 

B.  What advice would you provide for these snake wannabe fashionistas?

a.  Make it shorter

b.  Make it tighter

c.  Put on some more jewellery

d.  Put on some more eyeliner

e.  All of the above

f.  Try one of these outfits, I think this look would really suit you


 
 

C.  Conventional fashion wisdom would have us believe that when dressing for a big night out, check in the mirror, then remove one piece of jewellery.

If you are a snake, is this

a.  True

b.  False


 

D.  Which ridiculous and short sighted Indian film industry wilfully and wrongfully denied Kamal Hassan the opportunity to do an interpretive snake dance despite his starring in a snake film?  Or to reframe the question:  Which humane and considerate Indian film industry prevented Kamal Hassan from inflicting another ridiculous interpretive dance on his unsuspecting audience – this time an interpretive snake dance?

A sample clip for the underexposed: ‘1 2 3 4 now’ from Punnagai Mannan

a.  Bollywood

b.  Tollywood

c.  Kollywood

d.  The public needs to be protected from any more Kamal Hassan interpretive dance.

e.   a and d

f.   b and d

g.  c and d

 
 
 

E.  Which of the following indicators would point to an acceptable or good standard of snake movie?

a.  There are no snake dances

b.  A toothpaste snake/steam snakes

c.  Any film where the essence of a character can be distilled to ‘Weepy’ or ‘Rapey’

d.  Jeetendra

e. Any snake dance involving someone who looks like Freddie Mercury

f.  A comedy side plot involving a man selling his niece.

g. Disney sanctioned, fabric at the expense of substance (think about it – the formula of snake to fabric ratio is a giveaway), Siddharth with his hair in a ponytail filled extravaganzas

 

F.  An exciting and really really really important new discovery was made by one of the participants in the Naag Panchami fessstival

This was

a.  The previously thought to be extinct and hence extremely rare and therefore very very exciting to witness indeed Bangla filmi snake sub-species Naagus Mongooseus Ladyi commonly known as Nagin-Mongoose-Lady which amazingly shape shifts between snake and mongoose when fighting.  WOW!!!!  WHO WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT WE’D HAVE SEEN VIDEO FOOTAGE????  SO IMPRESSIVE AND FABULOUS I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!!!!!

b.  A so tiny as to be virtually inconsequential magical snake in an arty film

c. A modern modestly clothed snake

 

G.  During the course of the 2011 Fessstival a paper was successfully submitted to the Journal of the Academy of Applied Filmi Snake Research and Ethics discussing which controversial issue.

a.  The neglected role of Kamal Hassan interpretive dance in snake cinema

b.  Mongoose abuse and community consultation:  Help or hinderance

c.  The directorial choices of Jennifer Lynch in the film Hissss and their consequences

d.  The legitimacy of weaselesque snake statuary in the snake movie industry

 
 

H.  The current research findings suggest snake venom is (most likely to be) on the following dominant colour spectrum range.

a.         Yellow

b.         Red

c.         Blue

Hint:  This snake is filled with venom


 

3.  Essay Questions

Choose two (2) of the following essay questions.

Essay Question A.

In the 1980 Telugu film Punnami Naagu, Chiranjeevi plays the role of a snake in which all of his bodily fluids are deadly.  If you were an intended victim, which of Chiranjeevi’s bodily fluids would you prefer to be killed by and why?

Essay Question B.

Beth (Illinois, 2011) posits “Snake movie grand finales should have confrontational dancing, hallucinogenic venom, flying snakes, imperiled children, thunder claps, and/or crescendoing been music—or at least quick cuts between good and evil snakes doing The Look”

Do you agree or disagree?  Discuss, using climactic examples from at least four (4) films in the snake genre including this climax scene from Doodh Ka Karz.

Essay question C

Given the lead character in snake movies is most often female and evokes a strong quasi-divine female warrior/protectoress archetype, does the oft made choice of item girls in lead roles essentially serve to simply reinforce, or actively subvert, the usual images of women presented in the dominant paradigm of Indian cinema? Discuss.

Or for the visuo-perceptually inclined:

Assessment task.

Please construct a to scale model of the giant sci fi, supernatural snake mothercraft in the film Devi (1999). Include three (3) recommended modifications, to decrease the likelihood of (a) departing prematurely and (b) (particularly on nights pertaining to the culmination of the Saros cycle) equiping the ship with some kind of early warning device to facilitate timely demon (i) detection and (ii) eradication. (Photographic/video record of the model ( phased construction and completed) and plan specifications of all modifications to be submitted online).

Notes:

PLEASE SUBMIT your double spaced in 12 pt Arial Narrow font responses to the Cinema Chaat Comments section attached to this post.  In due course you will be notified of the outcome at the email address you submitted with your professional Snake Spotting Organisation. 

If you really must cheat, it may cost you your life if you fail to correctly identify a filmi snake. Take your chances:

Section 1

A – Real Snake

B – The Reverse Suck Manoeuvre

C – Fake Snake.  No self respecting snake would ever apply such a miniscule amount of eyeliner.  Also, this man is NOT Jeetendra

Section 2

A – Answer: a. is probably your best bet unless you are a snake pipe genius.

B – Answer: e. All of the above or f.  Then, because of your clearly helpful and informed advice, they might consider not killing you.

C – Answer: b.  If you are a snake, the answer is, when dressing for a big night out, check in the mirror and add two pieces of jewellery and an extra head ornament.

D - Answer:  Depending on your preferences (and levels of resilience), the correct answer is either c. or g.

E - Answer:   b. A toothpaste snake /steam snakes and surprisingly, d. Jeetendra

F – Answer:  c.  A modern modestly clothed snake in Naag Lok.  A significant moment in the documentation of snake filmi history Beth.  Congratulations.

G - Answer:  b.  Mongoose Abuse.  I cannot emphasize enough what an important, yet vexing and complex issue the whole mongoose snake interface in films is for academic and scientific filmi snake communities.

H - Answer: If you really need one after the Hint, it’s c.  (and based on the current evidence, may range in hue from clear to blue-violet)

An Open Letter on the Subject of Filmi Snake Identification and Research

The hallowed halls of the Academy of Applied Filmi Snake Research and Ethics are buzzing with the latest controversy. Our visiting snake expert responds to the (unfair, unjust and unreasonable) criticism levelled at her work by an anonymous  weasel professor. 

Professor,

I am gratified that you have provided the opportunity for further discourse and academic debate in response to the Filmi Snake Spotter’s Field Guide (The Guide)  in your comment about Beth’s scholarly analysis of the snake film Naag Lok.  Before I provide some additional comments in relation to the criticisms levelled at my work, I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Beth (Illinois, 2011) to the evidence base of filmi snake identification.  As you noted, the principles of scientific rigour to which she has adhered, are laudable and set a new standard in the field.

Whilst Beth (ibid) has certainly identified two new areas for research in the roles of the transformative snake skin lens overlay and the serpentine tikka, I would like to draw your attention to some comments in the introductory section of The Guide:  (a.) “In this guide we will illustrate only a small sample of the many hundreds of filmi snake species featured in sub continental movies” (p. 1.)  and (b.) “Although scientific validation has been undertaken through consultation with both acknowledged experts and enthusiastic amateurs in the area, hypotheses are always subject to revision with an expanded evidence base.”

It is important, I believe, to acknowledge the audience for whom one is writing.  Whilst perhaps it can be argued that the scope of The Guide is broad, as explicitly stated, the intention was the provide some basic, yet practically helpful information, thus providing some guidelines and structure for filmi snake identification, for both professionals and lay persons alike.  At no point, I would like to emphasise, was The Guide touted as an exhaustive monograph.

I would specifically like to address the assertion that omissions of reference were made to the characteristic of venom and the role of the mongoose in filmi snake identification.

1.  Venom

Far from neglecting the role of venom in filmi identification, it is important to note that the results in this area are sufficiently inconclusive at this stage, for exclusion from The Guide.

The sample at the current time is simply too small to achieve any acceptable level of statistical significance.  Observational data suggests that venom may be a useful indicator, but we have conflicting information about both the impact of gender on venom, as well as some conflicting data about colour of venom (though it appears that venom is on the colour spectrum of clear to blue-violet).  The two things that the data demonstrates as emerging trends are (i) that all bodily fluids of the filmi snake appear to be venomous. And (ii) filmi snakes, unlike non-filmi snakes, appear to be able to suck their venom out of any fimi-snake victim and restore life (the Reverse Suck Manoeuvre).

2.  The Mongoose

The inclusion or exclusion of the role of the mongoose is indeed a vexed one.  As part of the extensive consultative process with a number of scientific and government authorities prior to the publication of The Guide, a submission was received form the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals requesting that no reference be made to the role of the mongoose because of the clear instances of both mongooses and snakes being hurt, and even killed, in the course of filming snake movies.  Their substantial and compelling body of research suggests that publicity in these areas increases the likelihood of recurrence (to a 0.01 level of statistical significance).

This of course, posed a significant ethical dilemma regarding to the need for open scientific debate versus the need for a responsible approach to animal welfare.  In consultation with a number of eminent ethicists, it was determined that the scientific debate was best placed to occur in professional and academic snake forums rather than in a more populist publication like the Guide.  On that basis, the decision to omit was resolved.  For the edification of the scientific community however, a forthcoming article on the subject has been submitted and accepted for publication in the Journal of the Academy of Applied Filmi Snake Research and Ethics.

I hope this letter goes some way to addressing some of the concerns expressed about the perceived shortcomings of The Filmi Snake Spotter’s Field Guide and serves to further contribute to the spirit of open discussion and debate in the important area of filmi snake identification and research.

jenni

Filmi Snake Spotter’s Field Guide

We are delighted to have a special guest post for Liz’s Nag Panchami Film Fesssstival by BollyWhat’s resident snake fancier, jenni.

THE ILLUSTRATED FILMI SNAKE SPOTTER’S FIELD GUIDE

 

If you have ever seen the film Nagin (1976) you will know what I mean.  That is, that you are really much better off if you can identify a vengeful snake, before you are…well….dead.

If only they had been able to access my handy Snake Spotter’s Field Guide.

 original photograph located at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dramaqueennorma/122105967/

Introduction

In this guide we will illustrate only a small sample of the many hundreds of filmi snake species featured in subcontinental movies, but sufficient, we hope, to show enough of those commonly spotted varieties, and a selection of rarities, to satisfy the beginner and excite the specialist.

Habitat

We have concentrated on snakes that are hardy enough to have tolerated subtitling and You Tube exposure.  The filmi snakes in this Guide are restricted to the DVD and VCD habitats.   Those filmi snakes only found on videotape and 18mm film are extremely rare and outside the scope of this particular guide.  Indeed, VCD snakes are often difficult to glimpse and are dwindling in numbers to the extent that some may even be endangered.  This is due to years of neglect and the gradual encroachment upon, and degradation of, their natural environment.

Methodology

The following observations are based on extensive work in the field and hours of YouTube research.  Although scientific validation has been undertaken through consultation with both acknowledged experts and enthusiastic amateurs in the area, hypotheses are always subject to revision with an expanded evidence base.

Instructions:

It is a simple case of frequency.  The more of the following identifying characteristics present in any film, the more likely you are to have bagged yourself a filmi snake!

 

General Filmi Snake Identifying Characteristics

1. Sex

Most important filmi snakes are female.  Male filmi snakes are generally underrepresented and play a comparatively small role in the proceedings.

2.  Actors

If the actor is an item girl (or even an actor who has repeatedly appeared in item numbers), the likelihood of that person being a snake is increased.

3.  Clothing:

a.  Amount of clothing

It is particularly the case in post 70’s movies, that more of a  ‘reverse proportionate’  factor in clothing increases the likelihood of the wearer of said clothing being a snake.  i.e.  the less, and more skanky, the clothing the more likely the wearer is to be a snake.  This appears to be a rapidly developing characteristic of the filmi snake, likely a genetic evolutionary response set in motion to impede the threat of extinction.

b.  Style of clothing

(i)  Female:  Body hugging attire is generally favoured by filmi snakes, therefore traditional south Indian sari tying styles or short half saris are often seen.

In more western style garb they are not averse to a body suit.

(ii)  Male:  Fairy tale princely garb often involving some kind of tunic, puffy shirt or ruffles are often found in the male of the species in the north of the subcontinent.

Southern males appear to prefer the body hugging styles of their female counterparts.

c.  Jewellery

Snakes are, by and large, nicely accessorised.  In human form one has to forego scales which have a natural glitter and sheen, and frequent attempts are made by filmi snakes to replicate this characteristic.  This is generally achieved with either metallic fabric, or substantial amounts of jewellery.

d.  Headwear

Most snakes appear to have headwear, ranging from

(i)  Everyday Use Headdress: a more subtle form (although still often elaborate from a human perspective) often daywear, frequently features a simple cobra head, usually in gold (often a give-away this one).

(ii)  Big Night Out or Ceremonial Headgear. Most snakes appear to have elaborate and bejewelled headwear for special occasions.

(iii) Confrontational Headgear:  Even more elaborate and intimidating than ceremonial headgear. As in their reptilian form, (e.g. cobra hood), this serves to make them appear more impressive and sexually desirable, more commanding and important, or just more threatening.

4.  Eyes

a.  The more eyeliner that is worn, the more likely that the wearer of said eyeliner is in fact a snake.  Heavy application of eyeliner cannot be underestimated as a hot spot indicator for the filmi snake spotting novice.

b.  Coloured contact lenses are currently popular in the filmi snake community.  There appears to be an evolutionary factor to this characteristic, in that the widespread availability of coloured contact lenses has only occurred since the mid 1980’s.

c. The “I am a snake experiencing murderous thoughts and I mean business”  Look.  Often, The Look will be highlighted with a lurid coloured camera lens filter for extra impact.  Sadly, if you are only recognising the snake at this point, you do not have much longer to live.  However, if you can identify this look when it is directed at others you still have a chance, not only of accurate filmi snake identification, but to execute a hasty exit.

5. Habitat

a.  If the said scantily dressed woman is out late at night in an isolated and often forested place, there is an increased chance that she is a snake.

b.  If there is a snake charmer/holy man present with a bedazzled snake charmer’s pipe (been), it is likely that a filmi snake is nearby.  If said snake pipe is being played, the chance a snake is likely to be revealed soon, is high (see Sound).

c.  Actual snakes or snake houses in the frame increase the likelihood of a genuine filmi snake sighting.

d.  Likewise, an environment filled with snake statues is generally a dead giveaway.

e.  (i)  The Jeetendra Effect 1 – Jeetendra Proper:    For reasons unknown Jeteendra’s presence in any film increases the chance of an appearance by a filmi snake.

(ii) The Jeetendra Effect 2 – Munchausen’s Jeetendra:  Sometimes even a Jeetendra look alike will serve this function (e.g. Naag Muni).

6.  Snake (Been) Music

Snake music appears to serve a number of functions and consequently has a complex relationship with the snakes themselves.  Essentially, snake music can provide a state of ecstatic release and abandon for the snake while in human form, through the medium of dance, albeit only briefly  (for more on Snake Dancing see Activity, part b).  Whilst initially snake music can liberate the snake from the confines of the human form, if this state is maintained for too long, or with sufficient intensity, all vestiges of the human state will be shed and the snake will revert to their inner reptilian nature and eventually, their reptilian form.

Reaction to snake music is not always helpful in discriminating filmi snakes from filmi humans in that both snakes and humans will typically experience strong reactions.  It is the underlying reason for the reactivity, however, that is the singular determinant in accurate identification.  Snake music is often cacophonous to human hearing so they will often cover their ears as a deterrent to an adverse auditory stimulus.  Snakes however, though they might also attempt to mitigate the auditory stimulus, have an adverse reaction only because the snake music in the presence of humans renders their camouflage ineffective and therefore exposes them to increased environmental threat. This is because, as previously mentioned, prolonged exposure, particularly at the hands of a trained professional (i.e. sadhu or another snake), can force any snake in human form back to its reptilian state.

Despite the complexities of the interaction between snakes and their music, for the purpose of snake identification the following is a given: If there is snake music, there are generally snakes.

6.  Activity

a.  A snake orchestra usually indicates that filmi snakes are nearby.

b.  Snake dancing provides a reasonable likelihood of a filmi snake sighting in many instances, as long as the following provisos, contraindications, and cautions are observed:

(i) Proviso

Snake devotees rather than the snakes themselves perform a number of snake dances.  These can generally be distinguished by their comparative lack of eyeliner and relatively modest attire.

(ii)  Contra-indication

For the beginner, an oft-made mistake is the misidentification of women emerging from wicker baskets being real snakes.  Although snakes in their reptile form will often perform for human audiences in a wicker basket under contract to snake charmers, snakes in human form will generally not, and if they do, it is usually only as a ruse.  The tradition of women emerging from wicker baskets draws heavily upon both snake myth and stereotype.  These snake charlatans are generally involved in the entertainment industry and bear nothing more than a passing resemblance to the real filmi snake.  At most this is a symbolic plot device to illustrate an underlying jealous or vengeful nature on the part of the character. Otherwise known as the Snakeus Imposterus or, more commonly, Fake Snake.

Snakes love dancing. Genuine snake dancing most commonly can be categorised into five major categories (there are also minor categories beyond the scope of this guide).  An illustrative example for each category is provided.

1. Discovering Your Inner Snaky Nature dance.

When snakes have been reared with humans, they are sometimes unaware of their inner reptilian nature.  Snake music at maturity will allow these naïve snakes to touch their inner nature and sexuality, eliciting both a sense of freedom and power, sometimes conflicted with a great deal of associated confusion and fear (similar in some ways to the experience of human adolescence).

2.  Mating dance.

Can take the form of either an anticipatory mating/attracting the mate or an actual mating dance with the partner.

3.  Work dance.

Either undertaken in royal snake courts, temples, or (usually in snake form) in conjunction with snake charmers for mostly human audiences.

4. Hunting dance.

This dance has the sole purpose of attracting prey (this skilled re-enactment rather than actual footage is provided for illustrative purposes, given that the actual dance is rarely witnessed – at least by someone who lives to show the video evidence).

5.  Confrontational dance.

May occur when the snake is directly under threat and may involve transformations from human, to reptilian nature revealed but still in human form, to entirely reptilian form.

General Cautionary Afterword

The previous are general guidelines, and for every guideline there is an exception.  Snake spotting can be a dangerous activity so it is best to always maintain a state of being alert (though not alarmed).

It is hoped that this guide enhances both the accuracy and safety of your Sssnake Ssspotting experience.