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Australian art gallery celebrates Bollywood

The exhibition, 'Cinema India', featuring Bollywood posters and trailers from pre-independence times is being held at the National Gallery of Victoria.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2007 14:30 IST

An exhibition featuring Bollywood posters, costumes and trailers from pre-independence times to the present day is being held at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne.

The event, 'Cinema India', charts the historical, political and cultural changes experienced by India through the eyes of Bollywood. It also traces the origin and growth of the Hindi film industry.

A major section of the exhibition will be devoted to Mary Evans, better known as Fearless Nadia, the sword fighting, whip-cracking, punch-flinging Bollywood star of the 1930s and '40s, the NGW website said.

Evans was born in Perth in western Australia in 1908. With her father in the British Army, she moved with her family to Mumbai at the age of eight. After the death of her father in World War I, Evans and her mother lived with relatives in the North West Frontier Province near the Khyber Pass (now in Pakistan).

There she learned to hunt, fish and shoot. As she grew older, she performed in the Indian vaudeville and circus. It was Wadia Movietone, headed by brothers J.B.H. and Homi Wadia, who gave Evans the chance to work in Hindi films.

She soon came to be known as the Sultana of Stunts and Hunterwali, after her most popular and daring film, shot in 1935, in which she went around cracking a whip.

The unique exhibition, organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, will bring together remarkable examples of Indian cinema art, from large-scale hoardings and posters to photo cards, booklets, costumes, original film trailers and excerpts from landmark films.

NGW is an art gallery and museum founded in 1861. It is the oldest and the largest public art gallery in Australia.