A wealthy, but evil man named Zafar Khan, has fallen in love a girl named Salma and wants to marry her, but she and her father do not let him. Zafar is arrested for various crimes and is ... See full summary »


(idea) (as Smt. J.M. Desai), (dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Iqbal A. Khan
Julie D'Costa
Deepa Iyengar
Vicky Puri
Mr. Om Puri
Aslam (as Satyen Kappu)
Nilu Phule ...
Nathu (Mama)
Goga (as Goga)
Mukri ...
Mr. Iyengar
Mrs. Savitri Iyengar (as Shobha Khote)
Krishan Dhawan ...
Maula Saab
Parvati (Nathu's wife) (as Ashalata)


A wealthy, but evil man named Zafar Khan, has fallen in love a girl named Salma and wants to marry her, but she and her father do not let him. Zafar is arrested for various crimes and is imprisoned for 10 years, but when he is discharged, he sees that Salma is married to a good man named Aslam Khan. Zafar Khan, wants to convince Salma to marry him but Salma refuses. Zafar plots his revenge by flooding the region in which Salma lives in, killing her father, injuring Aslam and Salma, causing her to lose her memory. During this catastrophe, Salma is also separated from her young son, Iqbal. Zafar abducts Salma and tells the world she is his wife. He also adopts an infant from an orphanage in Kanpur, a boy named Sunny, for Salma to raise on the advice of a psychiatrist. Meanwhile, Iqbal is reunited with his uncle, who has lost his wife and son in the flood. The uncle will raise Iqbal as his own, as they have no more family. Years pass, and Iqbal and his uncle work as coolies. Iqbal has ... Written by gavin (gunmasterM@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

2 December 1983 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Носильщик  »

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Did You Know?


Writer & director Prayag Raj after Coolie he started Geraftaar with Amitabh Bachchan. See more »


When Iqbal is explaining to the Railway Minister that one of his porters was assaulted by one of the commuters, there is a yellow stick in front of him which moves with him. See more »


Featured in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) See more »


Saari duniya ka bojh
Lyrics by Anand Bakshi
Music by Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar & Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma
Performed by Shabbir Kumar
See more »

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User Reviews

Superior Entertainment.
20 August 2002 | by (Montreal, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Coolie" is a film with something for everyone. We have plenty of action for macho guys, a love story for the ladies, and even political and social themes for artsy folks such as myself. Of course this is nothing new for a Bollywood movie, they are designed to reach as wide an audience as possible. What made "Coolie" stand out for me however, was the way "Coolie" turned everything up a notch. There was more action! More Romance! More elaborate musical numbers! It was almost as if the movie was defying other Bollywood films to try and top it. Of course, it's not just the over the top quality that makes the film memorable. "Coolie" combines the spectacular action and musical scenes with a genuine sense of style. Most importantly however, it is the presence of the legendary Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan that makes the film a fulfilling piece of entertainment.

Most Bollywood films are fairly easy to follow, since the producers know what their audience wants, and time and time again recycle the same story elements (examples being "Mother India" [1957] and "Deewar" [1975], two very different films on the surface, but with almost identical story lines). Although Coolie contains many of the classic thematic elements of many Bollywood movies (absent fathers, a quest for revenge, the "little guy" standing up against a powerful villain), it also differs from the norm in many ways. The plot is much more complicated and difficult to follow than most Bollywood movies (there are about five story lines happening at once), but the action set pieces and musical numbers help distract from that minor problem.

Indeed it is the action scenes that are the major attractions of "Coolie". These have to be the most surreal, artfully constructed action scenes I've ever witnessed. In many other Bollywood films, the action is kind of slap-dash, with actors running around hitting each other randomly, while the camera doesn't seem to know what to shoot. Although of course in "Coolie" the action scenes are fast paced and energetic, the directors Manmohan Desai and Prayag Raj infuse smooth tracking shots, slow motion and freeze frames. This could threaten to turn the action scenes into cheesy John Woo style set pieces, where the action scenes look more like a karaoke video, but Desai and Raj wisely keep a sense of humour to the proceedings. Possibly the strangest and most striking action moment comes towards the end. At one point Amitabh Bachchan is thrown against a table. Suddenly, the frame freezes. A title appears on the screen: "Amitabh Bachchan was seriously injured during this shot". The freeze frame ends, and the scene continues as if nothing had happened! Apparently there really is something for everyone, action, music, and even news!

Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to explore the film as deeply as I would like to here, but I wouldn't want to finish before briefly discussing Amitabh Bachchan's star persona. I understand why he is a legend in India. He absolutely commands this film. From his introduction (a hawk lands on his arm, and the camera slowly pans to reveal his face), even those not familiar with him know they are in store for something special. Bachchan proves himself to be adept at not only fierce action, but comedy as well, as evidenced by a goofy but funny scene where his female captive tricks him into getting his legs stuck over his head. Now I'm not trying to say that Bachchan is God's gift to the art of acting, but he does what he does well, and there is no denying that, regardless of your usual cinematic tastes (I'm more partial to Ray, Ghatak, and Sen films myself), Coolie is superior entertainment.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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