A.B. Shah

  S. Ramanathan

  Basava Premanand

  G.D. Parekh

  J.B.H. Wadia

  Samaren Roy

  Mani Ben Kara

  Sib Narayan Ray

  V.B. Karnik

  Susheel Mukherjee

  Malladi Ramamurthy






Humanists I Met


Humanist, Producer of Stunt Pictures


The wall Posters of J.B.H.Wadia’s Nadia (1908-1986) became prevalent when I was studying for Inter (1954) in Guntur

That was a big attraction.

Though the movie ‘Hunterwali’ was released in 1935 and ‘Miss Frontier Mail’ in 1936, in the cities of Andhra they were screened twenty years later only.

Nadia’s picture was exhibited primarily in the wall posters. Posters showing her holding a hunter, wearing black sunglasses and tight pants attracted youngsters. Heroin Nadia rides on a horse racing beside a train, suddenly jumps off the horse onto the train, beats the villain, hops back onto the horse and rides away.

All those were thrilling scenes which make the audience jump in their seats not letting them sit.  

It was all a success. Plenty of money flowed in.

Hindi Stunt movies came 30 years earlier Vithalacharya’s Stunt movies.  Nadia’s movies made students and youth go into frenzy those days.

By 1943 Nadia acted as a romantic tragedy heroin in the movie ‘Mauje’.She was a foreigner. Yet, she acted as the first Indian heroin to act in stunt movies. Later she settled in India and married.

J.B.H.Wadia’s role was pivotal in all this. His studios by name ‘Movie Tones’ were in Bombay. His son was running the studio. The credit goes to Wadia.for recognizing Nadia’s talent and introducing her to the cine field. He saw her and approved of her as an eligible candidate for movies when she was 20 years of age. Gradually she got close to Wadia’s family and wanted to marry his brother. But his mother, an orthodox Parsi, did not approve of it.Nadia waited until after her death in 1960 and married Wadia.

I met her, Nadia, around 1970 through Wadia. She stopped working in movies by then.

Around 1970 I got acquainted with J.B.Homi Wadia. He was a student of M.N.Roy. That brought us both together. Wadia, who played a pivotal role in ‘Radical Humanist Movement’ as a follower and close companion to M.N.Roy, called himself ‘Royist’.

He wrote a small book with a nice title - ‘The Man’ about his attachment with Roy (M.N. Roy, the man, an incomplete Royana 1983). Hidaythulla, Vice -President of India released this book.

He collected rare photos of M.N.Roy. Casa Da Vinci was the name of Wadia’s Bombay residence. Roy couple were staying there and enjoying the hospitality of Wadia. He extended good hosting to M.N.Roy in Bombay. Wadia was very courteous to his guests.

Having relations with Wadia as M.N.Roy’s admirer/fan, I invited him to Hyderabad. Meetings were conducted on his arrival. He narrated his experiences in an interesting manner.

Hyderabad Central University Office used to be in Abids Centre. Once, when Wadia came to Hyderabad on our invitation the meeting  was held there. AbburiRamakrishna Rao, A.L.NarasimhaRao, Avula Samba Siva Rao, Jasti.Jawaharlal, N.K.Acharya, A.S.Vadwalkar, Alapati.RavindraNath, Alamkhud Miri and the like participated with enthusiasm in that get-together. Wadia delivered a speech. We queried about his movies and especially about Nadia.He answered and told many things patiently. That was a memorable experience.

Wadia mentioned a plan for a documentary about Roy. But it has not seen the light.

However, I could meet Wadia which I never imagined during my Inter days as I watched Nadia’s movies and I got close too. Corresponding with him, meeting him whenever he was in Bombay was good experience. He was a film producer who took care of not entering religious blind faiths in his movies.

His son’s wish to produce a documentary on Roy has not come into action as yet.

Since Wadia was a Humanist, other than stunts and thrills he did not allow superstitions in his movies.

At last a documentary on M.N.Roy was filmed in the Bombay studio.

Wadia was close with V.B.Karnik, V.M.Tarkunde, G.D.Parekh, Indumathi, G.R.Dalvi, and A.B.Shaw.

I was introduced to Wadia around 1970 as earlier mentioned. By that time Nadia stopped acting in movies. But my desire since the student days, to see her and talk to her if possible, had been fulfilled.

Her original name was Mary Anne Evan. Nadia was the name taken in India. Mother was Greek, father was Welsh.

Mary Anne Evans came to India at the age of 5 years. Along with the father she trained in horse riding, Ballet and worked in Jarcho circus.

About 1930, Wadia eyed, invited her and moulded her as heroin. She bid good-bye to the cine field from 1970 with the movie ‘Ek Nanni Munni Ladaki’. She settled well in a Parsi family. She was soft spoken. She died in 1996.

J.B.H.Wadia was an extraordinary film maker, director and Humanist.

He was M.N.Roy’s student. He used to boast as Royist..He worked in ‘Radical Democratic Party’ established by Roy. When Roy came to Bombay he used to stay in his house. A refined film maker. Conducted film field and politics separately. Wadia passed away in1986.



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