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    Home > Features > Hunterwali Nadia

When asked if she could dance, sing or act, she replied, "I'll try anything once"

Intrigued by the proposition of using a blond, blue eyed, fair skinned actress, J.B.H Wadia tested his new talent's screen ability by putting her in two films that were already under production. In ' Desh Dipak' (1934) she played a comely slave girl, who gets sold to the highest bidder at the auction block. Her physical appearance was stunning and the audience demanded to know more about this new find of Wadia Movietone. Nadia's next role was that of a second heroine in 'Noor-e-Yaman' , a sequel to Wadia Moviestone's 1993 superheat talkie "Lal-e-Yaman". The role of Princess Parizad called her to display great dramatic histrionics and with little training Nadia passed the test.

Emboldened by the public's favourable response, J.B.H Wadia wrote the script of 'Hunterwali' to display Nadia's acrobatic and dare-devilry. The film was completed within six weeks for a princely sum of 80,000/-, Not surprisingly, it had no takers amongst the distributors, who thought it audacious to depict and Indian heroine whipping men, swinging from chandelier to chandelier, sword fencing and enjoy every minute of it. Undeterred Wadia and his partner, M.B. Billimoria released the film themselves in 1935 with the little fanfare. Amazingly from the very first day the film ran to full house and very shortly became the highest grossing film of the Indian screen. The phenomenal success of ' Hunterwali ' set into motion a cycle of events that saw the birth of the stunt film genre and made Nadia a household name and over the next thirty years it seemed as if she could do no wrong.

In film after her stature as an icon of public morality and selfless fearlessness grew and by 1940, she became an idol for the oppressed peasantry of pre-independent India. The mass public who thronged to see her films enjoyed the stunts and was emboldened by her strong rhetoric against the establishment. In Hurricane Hansa (1936) she played a Harijan who fights the system and in Lootaru lalna (1937) she fights for Hindu-Muslim unity. Her next two films - Punjab Mail (1939) and Diamond Queen (1940) saw her as an emancipator of women. Her next three films - Bombaiwali (1941) , Jungle Princess (1942) and Muqabla 1942 were expensively produced showcases of her larger than life persona.

In 1941 - 42 Wadia Movietone produced a colossal big pictures "COURT DANCER" feature Sadhana Bose and Prithviraj - in English - Hindi and Bengali. The first Indian picture in English version was released in Metro - Mumbai.

Unfortunately the said picture was failed in Box Office. The Financier and the Partner of Wadia Brother withdrew their support to Wadia Movietone. Incidentally Wadia Movietone studio was sold to V. Shantaram of Rajkamal. The both the brother parted. J.B.H Wadia started making social picture.




Jungle ka Jawahar(1952)

Sher Dil(1954)

Baghdad ka Jadu(1956)

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