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Fearless Nadia – the First Stunt Queen of Bollywood

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About Fearless Nadia

Mary Ann Evans was always commonly known as fearless Nadia was a renowned actress in India. She was also a renowned stuntwoman who belonged to the Origin of Australia. She is profoundly remembered for her role in ‘Hunterwali’ as a clicker adventurer who wore a mask.

The film was released in the year 1935, and it was one of those very few films during that era that featured a female lead in the Indian cinema.

Early Life:

Born on 8th January 1908, Fearless Nadia whose real name was Mary Ann Evans belonged to Perth, Western Australia. Her father, Scotsman Herbert Evans was a volunteer in the British Army and Marget.

They were the natives of Australia, then the family had moved to India. Nadia had come to Mumbai in the year 1913 when she was 5 years old. She accompanied her father when her dad’s regiment was made to second to Bombay.

In Bombay, Nadia had tried to work in an Army and Navy store as a role of a salesgirl. Here was a time when she also wanted to learn the shorthand typing to land into a better job. Gradually, she became a master in Cartwheel as well as splits, which turned out to be very useful for her during her roles which involved difficult stunts.

She had gone to a fortune-teller during the start of her career, who predicted that a very successful career awaits her. However, to achieve success she would need to change her name as the name should be starting with ‘N’. It was then, that Mary Ann Evans had changed her name to Nadia. She liked this name and found it very alluring.

Personal Life:

Fearless Nadia was married to Homi Wadia in the year 1961. After her wedding, she became Nadia Wadia.

 Death:

Mary Ann Evans died on the 9th of January, 1996. This was a day right after her 88th birthday. She had a normal death as she had died due to age-related diseases.

 Legacy:

It was 3 years before her death in 1993, Mary Ann’s grandnephew Riyad Vinci Wadia had made a splendid documentary of Nadia’s life and films which was named as ‘Fearless: The Hunterwali Story’. The documentary was showcased at the 1993 Berlin International Film Festival where Dorothee Wenner who was a German freelance writer and a film curator had written ‘Fearless Nadia- The True story of Bollywood’s original stunt queen.

This was then translated to English in the year 2005. Moreover, In the Hindi film, ‘Rangoon’ directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The role which was played by Kangana Renault was tremendously inspired by Nadia’s life.

It was on 8th January 2018 that Google had paid tribute to Nadia’s 110th birthday by displaying a doodle. The doodle was made by an Indian artist Devaki Neogi.

 Filmography:

List of films done by Fearless Nadia in her lifetime:

  1. Hunterwali (A woman with a whip): The movie was released in 1935 where her role was of Princess Madhuri or Hunterwali.
  2. Miss Frontier Mail: The movie was released in 1936 where her role was Savita or Miss Frontier Mail.
  3. Lutaru Lalna (The Dacoit Girl): The movie was released in 1938 where her role was of Indira
  4. Punjab Mail: The movie was released in 1939.
  5. Diamond Queen: The movie was released in 1940 where her role was of Madhurika.
  6. Bambaiwali (The girl from Bombay): The movie was released in 1941.
  7. Jungle Princess: The movie was released in 1942.
  8. Muqabala: The movie was released in 1942 where her role was of Madhuri.
  9. Hunterwali Ki Beti: The movie was released in 1943 where her role was of Princess Madhuri or Hunterwali.
  10. Mauj: The movie was released in 1943.
  11. 11’O’Clock: The movie was released in 1948 where her role was of Lakshmi.
  12. Dhoomketu (The Comet): The movie was released in 1949.
  13. Jungle Ka Jawahar (The hero of the forest): The movie was released in 1953 where her role was of Mala.
  14. Jungle Queen: The movie was released in 1956.
  15. Khiladi: The movie was released in 1968

Nadia has got an immense amount of love from the audience because of her mind-blowing performances.

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