Happy birthday to me. And happy birthday to Fearless Nadia. Yes, Mary Evans—better known as Fearless Nadia, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, feisty stuntwoman who took the Hindi silverscreen by storm in the 1930’s—was born on January 8, 1908 in Perth.
And, though I may be small fry, at least I share my birthday with some interesting people. Two years back, I celebrated January 8 as the birthday of Nanda; last year I celebrated it as the birthday of Elvis Presley. This year, it’s Fearless Nadia. I’d have loved to have watched one of her iconic films—say, Hunterwaali or Miss Frontier Mail—but since those aren’t commercially available, I’m going to have to be content with this one. She’s well past her prime in Baghdad ka Jaadoo, no longer the whip-cracking siren of her early days, but she still kicks some serious ass.
Baghdad ka Jaadoo (‘Magic of Baghdad’, as it’s written in the credits) was a Basant Studios film, starring Fearless Nadia opposite her long-time co-star, John Cavas, who also directed the film. Neither of them is at their best here as far as looks are concerned, but there’s no skimping on the adventure.