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Ichchadhari Nag (male) or Nagin (female) is a mythical shape-shifting Cobra in Indian folklore. This creature was originally a venomous cobra which could take the form of any living thing after reaching certain age. Any snake which completes 100 years, get the spiritual powers for changing its forms and preserving its poison by not biting any living being. It prefers to be in the form of a human being most of the time.
Ichchadhari Nag, in snake form, possess a gem called " Mani", considered much more valuable than a diamond. Legends tell of many people losing their lives through snake bite, when the snakes took revenge for stolen Mani, or if either of a pair of snakes was killed. According to legend, the snakes can be controlled using Been, the musical instrument used by snake charmers. It is believed that it is the idol of snakes, but there is no proof of this.
The legends of Ichchadhari Nag have been used as a plot basis for many comic plot and stories. The comic book superhero character "Nagraj" ("Snake-King") is also based on these legends. There is another famous Hindi comic character Tausi who was the male shape shifting snake. Apart from these the concept had been used for many children short stories.
Many Bollywood movies incorporate the Ichchadhari Nag legends, or the character of Nagraj, such as Nagin (1954 film), Sridevi in the 1986 movie Nagina, and Reena Roy in Nagin (1976 film). The most famous songs are " तन डोले मेरा मन डोले :-Tan dole mera man dole." (My body swings, my mind swings), "मैं तेरी दुश्मन, दुश्मन तू मेरा , मैं नागिन तू सपेरा:- Main teri dushman, Dushman tu mera, main nagin tu sapera" (I am your enemy, you are my enemy, I am female snake, you are a snake Charmer.), and तेरे संग प्यार मैं नहीं छोड़ना :- Tere sang Pyar main nahi Chhodna" ( I won't stop loving you.)
- Mark Berninger (30 May 2010). Comics As a Nexus of Cultures: Essays on the Interplay of Media, Disciplines and International Perspectives. McFarland. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-7864-3987-4. Retrieved 6 December 2012.