Mumbai: The Google doodle on Monday kickstarted on a rather plucky note of reminiscence; it is “Fearless Nadia’s” 110th birth anniversary and Google duly paid her homage.
Mary Ann Evans popularly known by her stage name Fearless Nadia – forayed into Bollywood as the Stunt Queen of India with her break as the protagonist in the 1935 Hunterwali.
The Google doodle has a dark background with a sketch of Nadia’s face wearing a fiery smile, on the left. The actress wears her signature cowboy hat and a shirt with sleeves rolled up; straps of her leather shorts, as seen in Hunterwali, run over her shirt.
The ballet-trained, blue-eyed, Australian-origin actress was a discovery of Jamshed Boman Homi Wadia, a well – known director, screenwriter and producer of Bollywood. She has worked in half a dozen Wadia films which helped her gather the acclaim she holds even today. Apart from Hunterwali, Pahadi Kanya, Diamond Queen, and Lutaru Lalna are some of the films she starred in.
Nadia emerged as a shining star for altering the gaze of an audience smitten by usual masculinity of the silver screen.
Trained by the best of stuntmen, this woman in leather pants, masks and capes performed such death-defying acts that, until then, could only be imagined to be acted out by male professionals.
Nadia was the male-villain conqueror in a wider world of oppression. The sharp curve of her fame springs also from the ‘dream-fulfillment’ factor that an Indian audience could only surmise; rarely experience outside of reel.
‘Woman with a whip’ Nadia, was never restricted to one prop; she was seen jumping from chandeliers and rooftops and would, at times, tame lions. Before becoming Bollywood’s choicest feisty character, Evans was part of a dancing troupe-cum-circus group in Bombay.
Vishal Bhardwaj also paid tribute to Nadia in his recent directorial venture Rangoon. Kangana Ranaut played the role of Jaanbaaz Julia to commemorate the Nadia’s contribution to cinema.
Fearless Nadia, the focal point of Oriental costume-dramas shall always be remembered for her historic moments in Indian cinema. The actress died on January 9th, 1996 which, incidentally, marks Tuesday as her death anniversary.