India’s Stunt Queen Fearless Nadia AKA Mary Ann Evans
India’s Stunt Queen Fearless Nadia AKA Mary Ann Evans was born on 8 January 1908, in Perth, Australia and she died on 9 January 1996 in Mumbai. During the late 1930s, the world was staggering beneath the ripples of the forthcoming Worldwar, and fictional heroics rangers, superheroes, in particular, provided the people all around the world an escape into a fantasy world where all the evils of the world were balanced by these larger-than-life heroes. The fictional superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder women had become legends that still live with us in today’s era.
Her family went to Bombay when her father was transferred to a cantonment at the Elephanta Islands. Her peaceful childhood stuffed with dancing and singing was chopped short with the start of World War I. Her father died in conflict at the French frontlines. After her father’s death her mother decided to stay in India, Mary was enrolled at school on Clare Roadas a resident.
It was at this point in India that a lady exploded onto the screen, first as a princess, then as a masked vigilante with juggling whips, swords, guns, and even beating villains with her hands. A blonde hair, blue-eyed beauty, Nadia was a knockout with the audience from her first film and ruled Bollywood completely in the 1940s. Mostly ignored by cinema historians as she worked mainly in the action style, the tale of this swashbuckling champion is something few Indians acknowledge. She was also commonly known by the Nicknamed Hunterwali.
On tour in Lahore, her talent to sing Hindi songs, as great as her acrobatic dances, impressed the manager of the Regal Theatres Group, Mr. Kanga. Persuading her to acknowledge films as a professional career, Kanga introduced her to the Wadia brothers J.B.H. and Homi. Despite her Western looks and character, she completed up influencing the Wadia brothers. They asked her if she could sing or dance, she is said to have abandoned that famous line ‘I’ll try anything once’. They signed her up for two roles, her first, albeit a secondary one in the film Desh Deepak.
Nadia proceeded on to win over a more youthful audience with a slew of films including Tigress in the year 1948, Stunt Queen, Dhoomketu in 1949, Lady Robinhood in the year 1946, Wild Cat, Jungle Goddess in 1948, and Baghdad Ka Jadu in the year 1956.
Nadia came to India as a little girl. Her father, Herbert Evans was an enlistee with the British Army and little Mary grew up in India’s North-West Frontier Province. From a young age, she aspired to be a singer and dancer and learned Scottish dances from her father and Greek songs from her mom. She went on to sing in church choirs in school but even as a young girl, she was unconventional from other kids of her age.
Nadia was not just an action heroine, she was the stunt queen of the new channel period. When Indians queued up to watch a Homi Wadia movie with Nadia as the heroine in the film, they got the pictures kicks, whips, chairs thrown about, the puff-puff of train engines, horse races, a stuntwoman snuggling lions. Her thunderous yell at stray animals, bandits, and bad boys in general, as she cycled down the road on her way to new adventures, was her trademark. Nadia died on 9 January 1996, a day after her 88th birthday in Mumbai.