Mary Ann Evansas was born on this day in 1908 in Perth, Australia, the blue-eyed blonde actress "Fearless Nadia" earned her nickname as the original Bollywood stuntwoman in the 1930s and 1940s.
After learning the ropes of outdoor living in Peshawar, she first joined a touring dance troupe in Bombay, then the Zarco Circus. On the advice of a fortune teller she changed her name to Nadia, and then she was cast in cameos before striking upon the winning film formula: Fearless Nadia, action heroine.
In her first lead role, JBH Wadia's 1935 film Hunterwali (The Lady of the Whip), Fearless Nadia blazed onto the screen in leather shorts, a mask, and cape, performing all of her own stunts. Over the years, she swung from chandeliers, sprang from speeding trains, and even tamed lions.
In 1993, Nadia's great-grandnephew, Riyad Vinci Wadia, made a documentary of her life and films, called Fearless: The Hunterwali Story. After watching the documentary at the 1993 Berlin International Film Festival, Dorothee Wenner, a German freelance writer, and film curator wrote Fearless Nadia - The true story of Bollywood's original stunt queen, which was subsequently translated into English in 2005. Vishal Bharadwaj's Hindi movie Rangoon supposedly portrays her life and times with Kangana Ranaut playing her role
The Doodle, which was created by Bangalore-based comic illustrator Devaki Neogi. The illustration draws inspiration from the action movie posters of old-time Hindi cinema.