Google is commemorating the 110th birthday of the original Bollywood stuntwoman nicknamed ‘Fearless Nadia’. Born as Mary Ann Evans on this day in 1908 in Perth, Australia, the British actress changed her name to Nadia on the advice of a fortune teller.
Nadia first joined a touring dance troupe in Bombay, and then the Zarco Circus. However, her career flourished when she landed her first lead role in JBH Wadia’s 1935 film Hunterwali (The Lady of the Whip). Nadia not only performed all the stunts by herself, but became one of the early actresses to help mark a shift in the portrayal of women in the Indian cinema; not as a damsel in distress, but one that could swing from chandeliers and even tame lions.
One might argue that having a white woman on screen as the leading action heroine at a time when the Indian freedom struggle was at its peak might have been the wrong formula, but Nadia’s Indianized character was drawn upon the fearlessness seen in other Indian women warriors such as Razia Sultan and Queen of Jhansi, Laxmibai which helped build the icon.
Today’s doodle has been designed by a Bangalore-based comic illustrator Devaki Neogi. The doodle draws inspiration from the old action movie posters of Hindi cinema, showing Nadia wearing a cowboy hat and posing against the backdrop of a jungle.