Long before the world fell in love with Bollywood, Fearless Nadia brought a touch of Australia to Bollywood. Known to Indians as the invincible Hunterwali, Bollywood’s original stunt queen was “whips, quips, swinging hips”. What is less well known is that Fearless Nadia was born as Mary Ann Evans in Perth, Western Australia.
In 1913, when she was five, the blonde and blue-eyed Mary came to Bombay with her father and made India her lifelong home. In the 1930s she combined her diverse talents for ballet and horse-riding to project on screen the memorable persona of ‘Fearless Nadia’, promoted by a leading producer of the time, Jamshed ‘JBH’ Wadia.
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In a special commission from the OZ Asia Festival & Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, India, Ben Walsh (Circle of Rhythm, The Bird, Tom Tom Crew) has composed a score for one of Nadia’s best loved films "Diamond Queen". Ben has spent over four months editing the film and writing a score involving nine highly regarded Indian musicians and nine of the finest Australia has to offer.
Ben's tribute to Fearless Nadia premiered in Adelaide and has been performed in India, Sydney and Melbourne.
"Walsh has composed a remarkably varied collection of music for this production that complements the film perfectly, capturing the many moods, from comedy, to romance, to action and chase scenes, and more. Some sections lean far more towards the Indian influences, others towards pure jazz, others have marvellous blends in which one or other will dominate hovering to and fro in a clever interplay, and yet other sections touch on completely different genres, yet it all works so well in conjunction with the film the there is no incongruity.
This was a most rewarding experience, both for the chance of seeing this incredible woman at the height of her career, and for the brilliant composition and orchestrations of Ben Walsh played by such a superb group of musicians. It is important to remember that, without the OzAsia Festival, we would never have had the opportunity to see this, as the work was especially commissioned by the Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade."
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.
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