The First Stunt Queen Of Indian Cinema

She used to come on horseback and jump on the moving train.
She had mastery in combating goons on the roof of a moving train.
She used to domesticate lions.
Although she was of foreign origin, but India was completely settled in her heart.
She changed her name at the behest of an astrologer and later handed over her life to an Indian.
Who was that actress, who was born as Mary Evans, but made her career in Bollywood as
Nadia, and the industry named her Fearless Nadia after seeing her courage, her intentions
and her feats.
Why did Bollywood forget so quickly this stunt queen, who brought India’s name to the whole
world, despite not being an Indian by birth.
To know many more, just stay with us.
Friends, my name is Abhishek Anand, and you are watching the drama series Indian.
There are many movies in Hindi cinema, which are known to show the greatness of Indian
woman.
These films showed the greatness of Indian women very well but also created difficulties
for them.
Such films also give a message somewhere that Indian women need to remain goddess to get
respect in the society.
In such a situation, such a fearless actress was seen in Indian cinema during that time,
who not only lived her life in a fearless way, but also started punishing criminal elements
with Hunter immediately.
This hunter woman was Mary Ann Evans whom the world knows as Fearless Nadia.
Fearless Nadia, ie Mary Evans was born on January 8, 1908, in Perth, Australia.
Australia was a British colony in those days.
Mary’s father Herbert Evans was of Scottish origin, but was posted in Australia as a British
soldier.
His mother was a Greek ballet dancer named Margaret.
Mary reached India in 1913 due to the transfer of her father.
First, her father Herbert was posted in Mumbai, from where he had to go to Europe to fight
in the First World War, and there he was killed by the Germans.
Mary’s mother took her to Peshawar, where her family friends and relatives lived.
While living in the Pakhtunwan area, she learned horse riding, because the roads in that area
were negligible.
At the same time, she also learned to use guns, hunt, and fish, etc.
According to some media reports, where she had fallen in love with a military officer,
and in 1926 she also gave birth to a son.
She came back to Mumbai in 1928.
In Mumbai, she learned ballet dancing and joined the Russian ballet dancer Astrova troupe.
This troupe also entertained the British soldiers.
During that time she also learned some gymnastics tricks and then joined Jarco Circus.
She also worked in the circus for a long time.
Mary traveled all over the country and because of this, it was easy for her to understand
the language and culture here.
She changed her name to Nadia on the advice of an Armenian astrologer.
Now call it a coincidence, or the effect of an astrologer’s advice, Nadia’s luck also
changed after changing her name.
She was noticed by Jamshed Wadia, the famous Bollywood filmmaker, and owner of Wadia Movietone,
who offered her to work in films.
She played cameo roles in the 1935 films Desh Deepak and Noor-e-Yaman.
The audience liked her a lot, so in the same year, Jamshed Wadia got a film prepared with
special Nadia in the center, which was named Hunterwali.
The film was a super hit.
In this film, Nadia played the hero of cowboy films and when she lashed out at the criminals,
the cinema hall erupted with applause and whistles.
From here she got a new name that lasted her life, that was Fearless Nadia.
Nadia was known as a woman who challenged male dominance in Indian cinema.
Not only this but she is also considered India’s first female stunt artist.
Whether horse riding in movies, jumping from a moving train, jumping over waterfalls or
playing with lions, Mary Ann Evans, known as ‘Huntervali’, used to do all these stunts
herself.
That’s why Mary was given the name ‘Fearless Nadia’ and by this name, she became recognized
in Indian cinema.
The horse on which she rode, was named Son of Punjab.
Her second film came next year in 1936 which was named Frontier Mail.
In the film, she plays the daughter of a railway officer and her father is being falsely implicated
in the murder.
She got rid of the sixes of the miscreants by beating them and proved the allegation
against her father to be false.
This was the time when the heroines on the film screen were only there to sing songs
and present their soft delicate image.
During this period, Nadia worked in about 50 films.
A dialogue from her film ‘Diamond Queen’ is still remembered by the people.
That was, “If we want the freedom of the country, then first the women of the country have to
be freed.”
The special thing was that this film was released in 1940 when the country was under British
rule.
At that time it was a big deal to hear about the freedom of the country from the mouth
of a white girl in films.
The fearless Nadia was shown in Bollywood films such as Diamond Queen, Hunterwali, Sher
Dil, and Toofan Queen that came between 1930 and 1950.
In these films, Nadia was seen doing stunts in a fearless manner.
There was nobody double or stuntman in Nadia’s era, and she used to do dangerous to dangerous
stunts herself.
In the film Jungle Ki Beti or Jungle Princess, Nadia acted in such a mingling with the lions
that even the onlookers would get goosebumps.
She became a Hunterwali, a Hunterwali’s daughter, and a Jungle’s daughter.
After this, when the era of luxury cars came, she also became the daughter of Rolls Royce.
In this film, his stunts took place on expensive Rolls Royce cars instead of horses or animals.
There were songs in Nadia’s films, but the songs filmed on her are few because the audience
also liked to see Nadia dancing or performing tricks instead of dancing.
Nadia was very clean, not only in complexion but also from the core of her heart.
She never left the Wadia Brothers and her love affair with Jamshed’s younger brother
Homi continued for a long time starting in the 1930s.
Homi’s mother, Dhunmayi, was a staunchly orthodox Parsi woman who had vowed that she would never
allow a non-Parsi to become her daughter-in-law during her lifetime.
And the same thing happened.
After her death, Homi and Nadia got married in 1961.
By then Nadia was more than 50 years old.
Homi officially adopted Nadia’s son Robert aka Bobby.
However, Bobby thought it appropriate to settle in Australia in later years, from where she
had recently died, according to reports.
Homi Wadia had made a film about Nadia in 1968 even after marriage, which was named
Khiladi.
The player in this film was actually Nadia who became Lady James Bond.
The film was quite interesting, but according to critics, it was inspired by thinking ahead
of its times.
The audience could not digest the story seeing a sixty-year-old woman in the role of the
heroine.
In later years, Homi Wadia and Nadia became famous as couples who spent their days having
fun at their Juhu home in Mumbai.
Both were popular for throwing parties on occasion or without occasion throughout the
year.
Festivals of every religion were celebrated with parties in his house.
Nadia’s films went not only in India but also in the countries of Central Asia and thus
she became the first film artist of India to be recognized abroad.
German writer Dorothy Weiner wrote a book on her in German in 2000, which was also translated
into English.
The name
of the book was
Fearless Nadia, The True Story of Bollywood Original Stunt Queen.
Earlier in 1993, Jamshed Wadia’s grandson Riyad Vinci Wadia made a documentary on her
titled Fearless Nadia, The Hunterwali Story, which was screened in almost all film festivals
of the world.
Riyadh’s brother Roy Wadia has been a United Nations Population Fund official and writes
articles on his grandmother Nadia.
He described Nadia as a great feminist and revolutionary woman.
Noted choreographer and actor Shaymak Davar also belongs to the next generation of the
Wadia family and according to him, Nadia was a hero, not a heroine.
The bravery she showed in the thirties is like a dream for most Indian women even today.
On 9 January 1996, just a day after her eighty-eighth birthday, she said goodbye to this world.
Nadia was such a personality that the Indian cinema world will not be able to forget for
a long time.
Even today, most of the stunts in films are seen as imitations of her films.
In 2017, director Vishal Bhardwaj, in his film Rangoon, portrayed the heroine Kangana
Ranaut in the role of Julia, she was actually influenced by Nadia.

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