review by morrison-dylan-fan (contains spoilers)
Kaala Patthar:rating: 6/10. Review by morrison-dylan-fan (contains plot details).
Since "discovering" Bollywood cinema when I went to see the 2007 film Ta Ra Rum Pum with a friend,I have always heard about an actor called Amitabh Bachchan being one of the all time legendary actors of the industry.Having seen a few of Bachchan's most well known films (Don,Agneepath) over the last few years,I was happy to discover that the IMDb's Indian Cinema board,had chosen a Bachchan movie that I have never heard of before,which would also give me a chance to see one of his highly-praised 4 film collaboration with director Yash Chopra.
Being the sole owner of a number of coal mine's,Seth Dhanraj is determined to get every single penny possible from the "black stone gold" contained within the mine.Keeping his eyes on the balance sheet,Dhanraj attempts to keep as much of the income as possible,by treating his hard working miners like slaves,who are given the cheapest equipment around and the lest amount of medical care possible.Learning that miner Vijay Pal Singh has become a hero for rescue a number of trapped miner's from one of his "smaller" mines,Dhanraj decides to send Vijay to his top priority project,so that he can have all the heroism in him completely beaten out.Ignoring a damming investigating journalist report,and multiple requests to stop the work taking place at the main mine,from chief engineer Ravi Malhotra,due to the miners getting nearer to a section filled with gallons of water that would wipe all of them out.Seth Dhanraj sticks to only caring about his balance sheet,and orders the miners to keep digging until not a single piece of coal is left in the mine.
View on the film:
Bassing the awful events that the miner's suffer in the movie on the tragic 1976 Chasnala Mining Disaster,screenwriter's Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan show the treatment and the problems that the miner's face in a way which is still sadly relevant today.From the moment that owner Seth Dhanraj (played by a great,nasty Prem Chopra) appears on screen,Akhtar and Khan show him to be someone whose sole purpose in life is to line his own pockets,despite seeing the rusty equipment and the poor health of his workers right before his eyes.Diapointingly,about an hour into the film,the writers switch their focus from the struggle of the miner's,to focusing on the blossoming romances of its main character's.Despite the commendable cast (led by a strong performance by Bachchan,who gives Vijay a brash confidence in front of his fellow workers,and a consuming side of regret,which he tries to keep hidden) best attempts,the middle section of the film feels rather plodding and mostly unconnected to the more realistic plot featured in the first half.Whilst he leaves the "gritty" approach behind for the final,director Yash Chopra does thankfully,for the films last 30 minutes, unleash an explosive , Disaster movie final.As Chopra uses fast moving whip-pans on the "surface" to increase the edge of the seat tension,Chopra uses tight,nail biting shots in the mines,to create a thrilling claustrophobic feel as the gallons of water start flowing in.