Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who is turning 70 on Thursday, said in a recent interview that the "Coolie" accident left him clinically dead for a few minutes 30 years ago.
Amitabh suffered a near-fatal accident while shooting an action scene for Manmohan Desai's "Coolie" in Bangalore in 1982, taking him several months to fully recover.
In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Amitabh Bachchan recalls the "Coolie" accident that almost took away his life.
"I went into almost a haze and a coma-like situation. Within five days of coming into Breach Candy, I had another surgery and didn't come out of that one for a very very long time and I was clinically dead for a couple of minutes. Then Dr Wadia, who looked after me and is an absolute life-saver, just said "I'm going to take a last chance" and he started pumping cortizone injections into me one after another almost, 40 ampules of it, with the hope that something would happen and then I got revived," said Amitabh on asked what the "Coollie" accident did to him as a person.
When asked if he was confronted with the idea of his own mortality as stars often believe that they are immortal, he said, "When I did come out of hospital, I realized when I heard the stories and read the news, there was an unbelievable feeling of gratitude and even gratitude is sounding so less. I felt that this is a great burden that I will carry."
What is "Coolie" Accident?
It happened on July 26, 1982. Amitabh Bachchan sustained a severe injury while he was shooting a fight sequence with Puneet Issar for Manmohan Desai's "Coolie" at Bangalore University campus. He was supposed to fall on the table and then on to the ground for the sequence but he mis-timed the jump and hit his abdomen on the edge of the table, which caused him internal bleeding.
The actor was rushed to St. Philomena's Hospital where he underwent an emergency surgery. He was then flown to Mumbai to be treated at the Breach Candy Hospital and went through another surgery on Aug 2.
There was no sign of life in him for days. The nation mourned and fans prayed for him in temples and thronged the hospital vicinity to wish him goodbye. His close friend Rajiv Gandhi called off his trip to the United States to be with him. It took several cortizone injections by the doctors to see him move. It was a miraculous recovery for the actor and people close to him.
Amitabh Bachchan took several months to fully recover from the accident and return to the film sets. "Coolie" eventually turned into a big box office hit and the 'accident' changed Big B's life completely.