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Mary Evans Wadia, aka Fearless Nadia

The documentary on Mary Evans Wadia's life, Fearless: The Hunterwali Story was NOT made by her grandson, Riyad Vinci Wadia- he is, in fact, her great-nephew, and my brother. Our grandfather and grandmother were the late J.B.H. and Hilla Wadia, who founded Wadia Movietone/Wadia Films in the early years of Indian Cinema. It was Jamshed (or J.B.H. as his closest friends affectionately called him) who gave Mary her first break.

Jamshed's younger brother, Homi, followed Jamshed into films - working as his sidekick for a few years, and learning the skills necessary. Jamshed often put Homi's name in the director's slot, to give his kid brother the chance to make a name for himself.

Soon, Homi fell in love with Nadia- but the two did not marry until the early 1960's, after the death of Homi and Jamshed's orthodox Parsi mother who wouldn't let her son wed a parjat!! A sad story, in a way, because by the time they married, they were too old to have their own children. Instead, Homi adopted Nadia's son by a previous marriage.

It's interesting to note that J.B.H. was truly one of the film industry's most daring pioneers - he not only introduced a foreign woman to Indian Cinema, but did so in such a way that could have shocked and scandalized people at the time - but instead charmed and captivated them.. no easy feat. J.B.H. was also responsible for giving several major stars their early breaks - among them Dilip Kumar and Nargis in Mela.. Helen in Veer Rajputani.. Sunil Dutt in Duniya Jhukti Hai.. and many more.

Information supplied by Roy Vinci Wadia.