MUMBAI: Amitabh Bachchan’s Coolie is one of the most iconic films of his career. Released in 1983, it was the highest-grossing film of the year. However, the film is remembered for the dreadful accident that happened on the sets and made Puneet Issar a National Villain. During an action scene, something went totally wrong, and the superstar had a fatal blow.
The Sholay actor was rushed to a hospital as his intestines were ruptured, and while doctors tried to keep the actor alive, 60 units of blood were given by 200 donors, out of which one had Hepatitis B virus, which later affected the actor.
While everyone knows how the accident happened, here is a recap. Amitabh Bachchan was supposed to jump on a table after Puneet Issar’s blow, which incidentally went way too hard, making the superstar lose his balance and end up rupturing his internal organs as the corner of the table banged into him.
While everyone knows and remembers the unfortunate incident, what happened next was something people hardly knew. We recollected five major events that followed the Coolie accident, where we almost lost the Angry Young Man of the Nation of Bollywood. These events have been sourced from various interviews and reports of that time.
Amitabh Bachchan had lost a lot of blood, and while he struggled to stay alive, he was flown out of the nation with Rajeev Gandhi on his side. The nation considered him dead already and mourned for three days amidst prayers of a miracle to happen. However, a relief struck when his health bulletins started getting better. People swarmed outside the hospitals and wrote him letters.
While the world was praying for Amitabh Bachchan to stay alive, his wife, Jaya Bachchan, did not give up on God and walked barefoot to the Siddhivinayak. Probably it was her ‘mannat’ that the Bachchans, to date, have never failed to offer their prayers at the famous Ganesha temple.
During an interview with Simi Garewal, Jaya Bachchan, for the first time, opened up about what transpired in those hours after she was asked to listen to the most dreadful news while doctors declared the Piku superstar clinically dead.
The Mili actress in the interview recalled the dreadful time and narrated, “When I had reached the hospital where my brother-in-law said, “Where were you? We were searching for you. We have been looking for you.” And I said I went home to see the kids. Then he sort of took me up; he asked me to be brave, and then I am going to tell you. I was like, no, it’s possible; he isn’t going to do this. I know it’s possible. I had the prayer book in my hand, Hanuman Chalisa. Dr Dastoor passed by and said, ‘It’s only your prayers that’ll help.’ I couldn’t read it. I could see that they were pumping his heart. And after they gave up, I saw his toe move, and I said, ‘He moved, he moved.’ And then he revived.”
Abhishek Bachchan was very young at that time. He was almost 6 when someone in his school told him, Abhishek, your father is going to die. The Starkid had an asthma attack, which was probably his reaction to the news. Even Shweta was told about it much later.
Puneet Issar, who hit Amitabh Bachchan in the scene that triggered the mishap, lost out on a lot of work since he turned National villain overnight. He had to rely on B-grade films for his career. In an interview later, he confessed that he did not feel guilty or regretful since such accidents used to happen on sets often while shooting for a film!
However, all sighed in relief when Amitabh Bachchan was out of danger. He was not given newspapers during that time since none wanted to let him know about his real condition. Later, when he came back on the set, the climax of the film was changed. In the original film, he was supposed to die, but the team felt that now he was larger than life, and after beating death, he could not die on screen.
Coolie was released on December 2, 1983, and was a super hit.
For more news and updates from the world of television, OTT and movies, stay tuned to TellyChakkar.
Credits - koimoi