FP Staff Jan 08, 2018 10:07 AM IST
On 8 January, Google Doodle celebrated the 110th birth anniversary of Fearless Nadia (born Mary Ann Evans) — one of India's first female stunt artists.
Nadia was born in Perth, Australia in 1908 and made her way to India at the age of five. As she grew up, she became proficient in various skills such as horseback riding, fishing, shooting, gymnastics, tap dancing, ballet and more. Nadia then put her skills to use and joined the circus, enabling her to travel all around India. It was around this time that she changed her name from Mary and adopted the exotic sounding stage name 'Nadia'. In the same timeline, she caught the eye of filmmaker and producer Jamshed Boman Homi Wadia with her athleticism and physical capabilities.
Nadia went on to marry and be with Homi Wadia right up until her death which incidentally, was on 9 January, 1996.
Fearless Nadia made quite a dent in the Hindi film industry with her death defying acts which often put her life at risk. She is most remembered for her role in the 1935 film Hunterwali, which takes the title of being one of the earliest female-centric films that was churned out by the Indian subcontinent.
According to reports, it is believed that Kangana Ranaut's character — Jaanbaaz Miss Julia — in Rangoon was heavily inspired by and majorly borrows from the larger-than life persona of Fearless Nadia, the daring leading lady who did all her stunts on her own, be it jumping off moving trains, throwing herself into thunderous waterfalls, socialising with lions or riding horseback and jumping onto dangling ladders suspended from airplanes.
Nadia also starred in movies such as Noor-e-Yaman and Desh Deepak. However, it was Hunterwali that truly pushed her into the spotlight.