'Coolie' Accident: When Puneet Issar Shared How He Inflicted Near-Fatal Injury On Amitabh Bachchan

During the shooting of the 1983 film, 'Coolie', Amitabh Bachchan landed in a near-fatal injury, leaving him hospitalised for months. Read on to find the details!

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By Kalash Khurana Last Updated:

'Coolie' Accident: When Puneet Issar Shared How He Inflicted Near-Fatal Injury On Amitabh Bachchan

Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan, needs no introduction as he is the ultimate Shenshah of Bollywood. Be it his dialogue delivery, dance moves or his acting spree, Amitabh Bachchan never fails to win our hearts with every character that he plays. The actor has a massive fan-following across the globe, and his popularity is second to none. People love to watch him on silver screens, and they worship him like God.

However, two decades ago, on July 26, 1982, Amitabh Bachchan had got accidentally hit by Puneet Issar during the shooting of an action sequence for his film, Coolie. The actor had lost 40 kgs of weight and he was hospitalised due to internal bleeding in his lower abdomen. The accident had left the entire nation worried as there was a little chance that Big B would survive. In an old interview, actor, Puneet Issar had recalled how he accidentally inflicted a serious injury on Amitabh Bachchan and shared how the latter had greeted him with kindness and warmth despite the incident.

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Once in an interview with Rediff.com, Puneet Issar took a trip down the memory lane and had recalled the infamous Coolie incident. He shared that it was a mock fight and he and Amitabh Bachchan rehearsed for the action sequence many times. The actor added that Big B would always stop at the table during the rehearsals and had said:

"I remember the incident clearly. It was way back in 1982, it was an action sequence and we were shooting in Bangalore. I was supposed to throw some punches at Mr Bachchan and he was supposed to throw some punches at me. It was a mock fight. We did some rehearsals. We did about seven rehearsals and they went fine. But during the rehearsals, Amitji would always stop at the table."

However, during the actual take, when Puneet mock punched Amitabh and threw him on the table, the latter took a leap and got hurt. This incident left Puneet in guilt as it was his first film, but Big B told him to relax, and they continued shooting. However, the next day, his condition got worse and he had to be admitted to a hospital and he was operated after 72 hours of the accident. Reflecting on the same, Puneet had said:

"Then came the actual take and Amitji was much more charged. I (mock) punched him and threw him on the table as I was supposed to do. But Amitji took a leap, somersaulted and fell off the table. Amitji said, 'Mujhe lag gayi hai.' At first, there was guilt. This was my first film after all. After the accident, Mr Bachchan told me, 'Relax, these things happen while shooting. It was just a mock fight.' Then he got up and left. We continued shooting after that. But the next day, he did not turn up for shooting and we panicked. We didn't realise the seriousness at the time of the accident. Mr Bachchan's condition was only going from bad to worse. Unfortunately, the operation took place only after 72 hours. The rest is history."

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Amitabh Bachchan's condtion had got worse with each passing hour and he lost 40 kgs of weight. While the incident left everyone in shock and made Puneet a real-life villain in everyone's minds, Big B had no bad blood for him. In the same interview, Puneet had shared that when he and his wife had visited Mr Bachchan in the hospital, the latter had asked him not to worry as it was not his mistake. Talking about the same, Puneet had said:

"He is a great man. My wife and I had gone to see Mr Bachchan at Breach Candy Hospital and my wife donated blood for him. I was petrified and thought all this had happened because of me. The press wrote all kinds of things about me and I was paranoid. Mr Bachchan was a demi God. I remember Mr Bachchan telling me, 'Puneet relax, it happened to me also. It was an accident. You didn't mean it.' The media looked at me like I was some Nathuram Godse. But he, his entire family, Jayaji, everyone was very nice to us."

Though Coolie was a superhit, it didn't benefit Puneet as he was criticised by the media and Amitabh's fans for the haunted incident. Moreover, it impacted his career and he didn't get any work for 6-7 years after the accident and he received much hatred from the audience. Recalling how he managed to bag the role of 'Duryodhan' in the TV show, Mahabharata, Puneet had shared:

"Coolie was a superhit and I was very happy for Manmohan Desai and Amitabh Bachchan. But I did not benefit from it. I was virtually a stigma. The press turned me into a life-sized monster. I have a fourth degree black belt in martial arts and all these plus points became my negative points. For 3, 4 years, I did not get any work. I struggled for six years after that accident and only after that did people start coming forward to work with me. I got roles like Duryodhan in B R Chopra's television serial, Mahabharata."

For the unversed, the film, Coolie had marked the beginning of Puneet Issar's career in the film industry.

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