There is a reason why Mary Ann Evans is popularly known as the fearless one. The first ever stunt woman not only changed the notion of the hero in Indian Cinema but also became a star that the world still admires.
Born on 8th January 1908 in Perth, Western Australia, Mary came to Bombay when she was just 5 years old with her father Herbert Evans who was a volunteer in the British Army. The beautiful girl got her genes from her Greek mother, Margret.
After her father passed away in 1915, she decided to take control of her life.
Mary learnt many skills while growing up. Horse riding, gymnastics, tennis, tap dance, and ballet are a few to be mentioned. And that made her the superhero who could jump off the cliffs, fight atop a speeding train and could befriend lions with ease and never had a tough time kicking men.
It was the time when our the world was reeling under the ripples of upcoming war and India was one of the colonies under the British, Nadia appeared nothing less than a hero the world had never seen. She entered the show business after learning stunts as a circus performer in Peshawar. It was then that she joined a touring dance troupe in Bombay.
Later on, she made it to the Zarco Circus and made her way into the movies wherein she opted for the name Nadia.
She also acted in a few movies but the movie that got everybody’s attention was Hunterwali which came out in 1935 where Nadia performed remarkable stunts on her own and outshined everyone else. After her movie was a huge success, she came to be known as ‘Hunterwali’.
During the time when women played princess or queens in the movies, Nadia emerged as the game changer. The superwoman once said, ‘I’ll try everything once’ was often portrayed as a woman fighting injustice, a theme that was popular among the audience during the last leg of the British rule.
Her popularity was not restricted to only India but crossed borders and reached countries like Greece, Italy, and France that made her India's first crossover actress. She owned a horse named Punjab Ka Beta, a pet dog whom she called Gunboat and a car that she had named Rolls Royce Ki Beti.
Later in 1960, she appeared in a James Bond spoof called Khiladi (The Players).
Fearless Nadia made the audience laugh, clap, think and made them sit tight in their chairs with her incredible stunts. The woman who opened a whole new world for other women breathed her last in on January 8th, 1996 in Mumbai.
Fearless Nadia was a true example of living life to the fullest.