Google Doodle celebrates Bollywood’s Fearless Nadia

Google Doodle celebrates Bollywood's Fearless Nadia

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Johnson Cherian.
Google on Monday celebrated the birth anniversary of Bollywood actor Mary Ann Evans, popularly known as Fearless Nadia, with a doodle.
Nadia, an Australian-born performer, was an important part of the Hindi film industry in the 1930s and 1940s. In the course of her career spanning over 38 films, she made a name for herself as a talented actor who did her own stunts, and often portrayed the role of an Indian woman fighting injustice and saving the masses from oppressive rulers — a theme that went down well with the audience during the last leg of the British rule.
The young Nadia was introduced to the world of Hindi cinema by J.B.H. Wadia, the founder of Wadia Movitone, a production company and studio based in Mumbai that was known for its stunt and fantasy films. It is said that when no one was ready to distribute ‘Hunterwali,’ starring the blonde, blue-eyed Nadia, the Wadias took up the task. The film went on to become a huge box office success.
Before becoming an actor, Nadia had worked as a circus performer, which helped her in performing trapeze activities and other stunts on screen, says Dorothee Wenner, the author of ‘Fearless Nadia – The True Story of Bollywood’s Original Stunt Queen.’ Calling her a “radical feminist actress,” Ms. Wenner adds that “Nadia’s success reached countries like the UAE, France, Greece and Italy, etc. In that way, she happens to be India’s first crossover actress.”
In one of her last on screen appearances in ‘Khilari’ in 1961, Nadia lifts up a man and throws him in the air — she was 53 years old then. Speaking about this in a TV interview in the 1980s, Nadia describes how, during a screen test, director Homi Wadia (whom she later married) asked her if she could lift a man. After she successfully did that, she says, he made it a habit of making her do it in every movie!
In 1993, three years before her death, her nephew and filmmaker Riyad Vinci Wadia made a documentary titled ‘Fearless: The Hunterwali Story’ which got much critical acclaim. Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2017 movie ‘Rangoon’ is said to be loosely-based on Nadia. The Google illustration by Bangalore-based comic illustrator Devaki Neogi draws inspiration from the action movie posters of old Hindi movies to pay tribute to India’s unconventional superstar.

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