The day when Yash Chopra’s underrated gem, ‘Kaala Patthar’ was released

Late filmmaker Yash Chopra is more popularly known in Bollywood for his grip on the genre of romance, and the magic that he brought on the screen with his classics. But he was a master in telling stories of all the genres, drama, romance, or even a thriller. Films like ‘Ittefaq’, ‘Deewar’, ‘Trishul’ and more are classic examples of the same. Among such gems made by him, there was one film that undoubtedly remained his most underrated work. And it was none other than his 1979 released hard-hitting disaster drama ‘Kaala Patthar’ which released today on August 24.

Not many would be aware that the film was inspired by a real life incident, Chasnala mining disaster, that had happened on December 27, 1975 in a coal mine in Chasnala near Dhanbad, Jharkhand, that killed 372 miners. The film was written by Salim-Javed and it featured an ensemble star cast, with actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Rakhee Gulzar, Parveen Babi, Neetu Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar (in a cameo appearance) and Prem Chopra. (Also Read: When Raj Kapoor declined ‘Waqt’, and Yash Chopra took the reins)

This film marked the fourth collaboration of director Yash Chopra along with actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor after the hugely successful ‘Deewaar’ (1975), ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ (1976) and ‘Trishul’ (1978). But, when one has to recall the most memorable scenes or dialogues, no doubt every scene between Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha will be remembered among the moviegoers. The onscreen confrontation and rivalry between the characters of Vijay and Mangal, played by Big B and Shatrughan respectively is considered to be a high point of the film.

However, reports suggest that while shooting for this film both the actors shared a cold relationship. According to the Shatrughan’s biography ‘Anything But Khamosh: The Shatrughan Sinha Biography’, the actor has mentioned in it saying, “On the sets of ‘Kaala Patthar’, the chair next to Amitabh would not be offered to me… We would be heading from the location towards the same hotel but he (Bachchan) would sit in his car and never say, ‘let’s go together’.” [sic]

Well, keeping the past differences aside, today both Amitabh and Shatrughan share a bond of deep respect and friendship. Recently, both of them even came together and made the first episode of the celebrity talk show ‘Yaaron Ki Baraat’ which evoked a strong sense of nostalgia for all their fans.

Indeed, this day will be remembered for the release of this underrated classic, which was a superbly written, conflict-driven, emotion-driven multi-starrer.