Koyla (transl. Coal) is a 1997 Indian Hindi-language action thriller film directed, co-written and produced by Rakesh Roshan, which stars Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Amrish Puri, Johnny Lever, Ashok Saraf, Salim Ghouse, Deepshikha and Himani Shivpuri in supporting roles. Mohnish Bahl makes a special appearance. The film was released worldwide on 18 April 1997 and became a box-office hit, grossing over ₹28.5 crore worldwide against a budget of ₹11.90 crore. Critics praised the action sequences performed by Khan, and it emerged as the 8th most successful film of 1997 in India. Some scenes of the film were shot in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.
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Shankar is a handsome mute man, raised by the powerful Raja, to whom he is completely loyal. However, Raja treats him like a slave. He is also tormented and unnecessarily beaten by Raja’s younger brother Brijwa, a sadistic and violent psychopath. The elderly Raja is a ruthless and cruel man with a large appetite for young women who kills anyone who dares to defy him, however lately he has proven to be unable to perform in the bedroom and continues to fall asleep as he is bored of his beautiful secretary Bindiya, who lusts after Shankar. His doctor suggests a younger woman, who may be able to satisfy him.
One day Raja sees Gauri, a happy young innocent village girl, and begins to dream about her and wishes to marry her, however, despite her greedy aunt and uncle want her to marry Raja, Gauri wants to see a picture of her future husband first.
Aware that Gauri would instantly reject the elderly Raja, he sends her a photo of Shankar. Gauri instantly falls in love with him and the wedding proceeds. However, before the ceremony is completed, she discovers that it’s not Shankar whom she is marrying and faints; Raja orders the priest to continue with the ceremony, even though the marriage would be invalid while Gauri is unconscious.
When Gauri regains consciousness, she discovers Raja trying to “consummate” with her and learns they’re married, which shocks her. She refuses to submit herself to him by attempting suicide, so he imprisons and tortures her. One night Gauri tries to commit suicide, however, Shankar and his friend save her and she finally meets Shankar. She slaps and accuses him of ruining her life. however. Shankar’s friend reveals that Shankar was innocent in this whole affair, a shocked Gauri tries to apologize, but Shankar leaves before she can.
One night, Bindya is frustrated by Raja’s inability to perform and goes to Shankar, but instead finds Raja’s brother Brijwa waiting for her. He attempts to rape her, but Shankar stops him. Not being able to proceed to thrash his master’s brother, he takes a beating and gets framed for attempting to rape Bindya by Brijwa and is badly beaten by Raja. Bindya confesses that she went to Shankar and is then sent to a brothel controlled by Chandi Bai as punishment by Raja.
When Gauri’s brother Ashok comes to see her, Raja forces her to lie to him which she does and says that she is happy as Raja threatens to kill him if she refuses, however, Shankar reveals the truth to him and Raja kills him when he comes to rescue her. Moments before he dies, Ashok makes Shankar promise him to save his sister; Shankar and Gauri flee Raja’s mansion.
An enraged Raja begins a murderous search to find Gauri and Shankar, however, after a long chase through the mountains and jungle, Shankar uses the survival skills he learned as Raja’s servant to kill Raja’s men, Raja and his men leave due to being disadvantaged.
During that time, Gauri and Shankar begin to fall in love. But unexpectedly, Raja, who has returned with reinforcements, sees Shankar and Gauri near a waterfall and manage to capture them by shooting Gauri in the arm.
Shankar is brutally beaten by Brijwa and the corrupt DIG and Raja slits his throat, then leaves him to die in the mountains; and Gauri is sold to a brothel. There, Bindya saves Gauri from what had been done to her, and in the process, she eventually gets killed by Brijwa. Shankar is found and saved by a village boy who brings him to and his father (a healer) who operates on his throat while he is still unconscious. The healer, who discovers that Shankar is not mute by birth, is able to repair some of the damaged nerves in Shankar’s throat, enabling him to speak.
Shankar recalls that when he was a boy, his father discovered diamonds in the coal mine, however he and his wife were murdered in front of Shankar by two mysterious men; when young Shankar threatened to tell everyone what they did, someone came up from behind him and shoved hot coals into his throat, rendering him mute. Shankar recovers and returns, first, he kills Brijwa and is reunited with Gauri after rescuing her from the same men that killed his parents, and bought Gauri. Shankar, in the process, discovers that Raja was the person who made him mute and who ordered his parents to be killed so he could steal their wealth.
He kills Raja’s two henchmen and the DIG, then finally manages to corner Raja, who finally apologizes to Shankar for his wrongdoings to him, but Shankar disregards this and kills him by setting him on fire. At last, Shankar and Gauri embrace each other, finally at peace.
Shah Rukh Khan as Shankar
Madhuri Dixit as Gauri
Amrish Puri as Raja Sahab
Johnny Lever as Chhote (Shankar’s friend)
Deepshikha as Bindya
Salim Ghouse as Brijwa (Raja Saab’s brother)
Ashok Saraf as Raja Saab’s doctor
Ranjeet as Dilavar
Jack Gaud as Ranvir
Pradeep Rawat as D.I.G.
Kunika as Rasili
Himani Shivpuri as Chandabai (Madam)
Mohnish Behl as Ashok (special appearance)
Razzak Khan as a party guest
Shubha Khote as Gauri’s aunt
Suresh Chatwal as Gauri’s uncle