“Kaala Patthar” (‘Black Stone’ in English), released in 1979, is a movie based on a 1975 actual mining disaster at Chasnala (near Dhanbad, Jharkhand) in which 372 miners lost their lives. The movie truly encapsulates how people from various walks of life come together to show true courage and character to fight the forces of nature.
The screenplay is penned by Salim-Javed and the movie produced by Yash Chopra. It has an amazing star cast comprising Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Rakhee, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi, Prem Chopra, Poonam Dhillon … The music is composed by Rajesh Roshan, with the background score by Salil Chowdhary.
I also believe that Salim-Javed must have listened to Jimmy Dean’s 1961 song “Big Bad John” before writing the screenplay. “Big Bad John” is a country western song about a mysterious miner who earned the nickname Big John because of his height, built and strength and how he ends up saving the lives of various miners in an accident. This sounds like Amitabh Bachchan’s character, doesn’t it? Listen to the song and then watch the film.
“Ek Rasta Hai Zindagi” is a perfect song for a long drive. It has many variations and is beautifully rendered by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. It starts with women singing “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene…” – this is lifted from Dolly Parton’s hit “Jolene”, the rest is Roshan’s magic.
“Bahon Mein Teri” is one of the most romantic songs to come from Hindi Cinema. It’s a duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi. This song was shot by Ramesh Talwar who was assistant director to Yash Chopra and is now a director himself.
“Dhoom Mache Dhoom” is a song about celebration and is sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Mahendra Kapoor & S.K. Mohan. It later inspired Aditya Chopra who whilst watching this movie got the idea for franchise Dhoom & the anthemic “Dhoom Machale”.
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge! It’s time for some trivia:
- A beautiful duet by Usha Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi “Mujhe Pyar Ka Tofa” was dropped from the movie.
- This was also the last movie Sahir Ludhianvi penned for Yash Chopra.
- The background score during the fight scenes of “Kaal Patthar” is also used in Anil Kapoor starrer “Mashaal”.
- Dialogues of this film became very popular, especially Shatrughan Sinha’s “Teesre Baadshan Hum Hai”.
- Though it was nominated for 8 Filmfare Awards in 1980, including Best Story, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Film, it didn’t win a single award.
- This was the fourth association between Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor and Yash Chopra; the first three being “Deewar” (1975), “Kabhie Kabhie” (1976) and “Trishul” (1978).
- Ramesh Talwar started his career in theater and then went on to assist Yash Chopra in “Ittefaq” (1969) and assisted him in 7 films till 1979. Talwar’s first film as a director was “Doosra Aadmi” who won him several Filmfare Award nominations. He went on to direct 7 films but, only “Zamana” and “Baseraa” were successful and eventually he went back to directing plays.
- Amitabh Bachchan was not comfortable with Shatrughan Sinha (both were good friends at one time) being part of the film.
- During the launch of film in Leicester’s Natraj Cinema, UK in 1979, Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan both went on stage to during the opening credits and the audience had ball.
- Also interesting to note that “Kaala Patthar” stared Amitabh Bachchan and “Dhoom” starred his son Abhishek Bachchan.
Truly a masterpiece by Yash Chopra, the entire soundtrack of the film is beautifully composed. “Kaala Patthar” remains one of the most underrated movies of Hindi Cinema. I give this OST 4/5 and film 4/5.
Leaving you all with beautiful rendition of Jolene by Dolly Parton & Miley Cyrus