I thought it was an Indianized version of Lord Jim, which was itself based on the true story of the abandonment of a ship called PATNA! In Lord Jim too the protagonist lives with the fact of his own cowardice and eventually redeems himself by taking on ugly forces that prey on the poor and weak. Kaala Paththar had two other men in the story - and followed the usual 70s/80s cliché of the man with the criminal background having to die in the end. But it was also quite uncliched in having no overt romantic track between Shashi and Parveen Babi, and a very quiet connection between Amitabh and Rakhi. Rakhi never enunciated well in Hindi and it got worse in moments of agitation. Here she did not have to speak much and was OK. I always liked Neetu Singh and she was good in this one too. Shatru was never a favorite but he was quite restrained here IMO. For a film from the 70s, this was indeed quite a different one and I enjoyed it. Amitabh was excellent as the coward, then the slowly burning up with self-disgust man, and finally as the hero. The mine disaster was well shot and the dark and claustrophobic kind of picturization made is seem realistic. There were not really many songs to disrupt the narrative - another unique feature for a film of its time. Fr instance, no sad number with wailing violins as the hero sits and stares at the stars and broods over his past! I gave it 8/10.