If you have watched the movie Stree, or its trailer, you would know that it is ‘based on a ridiculously true phenomenon’.
Speaking to the Quint, the director of movie Amar Kaushik said that though the film derives inspiration from Bangalore’s Nale Ba legend, it is a mix of several similar myths from across the country.
One of them is based on a real urban legend that enveloped Bangalore in an icy blanket of fear in the 1990s, long before the city became India’s Silicon Valley.
If legends are to be believed, a witch used to roam the streets of the city of Bangalore hunting for her prey.
The witch would knock on the doors at night, and try to lure men by calling them out in voices similar to that of the women they loved – mother, wife, sister.
Upon hearing a familiar voice, the person would open the door, and subsequently die within the next 24 hours. This legend spread like wildfire, wreaking havoc in the city.
The locals then found out a way to get rid of the witch. They started writing ‘Nale Ba‘ on the doors, or uttering the same from inside of the house to ward off the evil spirit. ‘Nale Ba‘ literally means ‘come tomorrow’ in Kannada.
The witch would leave when it saw ‘Nale Ba‘ written outside the homes. Apparently, this was the only way to send the spirit back.
This would ensure that the men in the city were safe for the day till the witch arrived again the next night. The cycle of the witch coming and knocking on the doors, hunting for prey would continue forever.
As time went by, the story died out, and so did the witch of Nale Ba. You’ll still find some of those markings in some parts of Bangalore even today. In fact, in certain places, April 1 is observed as Nale Ba day.
While there have been no sightings in the recent past, some incidences recorded in the mid-2000s were reported to be very similar to that of Stree.