For those uninitiated 'Gunday' was one of last narrations of late legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra. In fact, it was he who had green lit the project and also gave a lot of his inputs for the film.
We were told that Yashji was very keen for director Ali Abbas Zafar to shoot the film at an actual coal mine. He felt that while shooting for 'Kaala Patthar' (starring Amitabh Bachchan), Yashi ji himself did not take the plunge. He insisted on the fact that Ali should definitely shoot at a coal mine and also shared details of his experience and details about coal mines. Yash ji enthusiastically even shared options of where all can the shoot be held.
When the film went into production YRF was very enthusiastic to weave this through. The coal mine shots are done in an open cast mine in Raniganj which is 3 hours away from Kolkata. Never before has there been a film shot in this area - not even, a Bengali or small scale film.
The permission bit was not a problem. In fact all the nitty-gritties worked out smoothly for them since the authorities were very accommodating. Even when the team went for a recce the authorities gave them access during lunch breaks for them to scan and plan things.
Ali also interacted with miners to closely understand their lifestyle, their work conditions etc. He also photographed them to ensure he gets the nuances of the look right. When they went back to shoot, there was an entire area which was allotted to them. Their shooting schedule was two week long and they had no interference from the miners what so ever.
The only little hiccup was that while they shot every day, a huge sea of people gathered there out of curiosity. They used to sit there all day long keenly observing the shoot.
But at the end of the day; everyone is very pleased with the way the film has turned out. On the other hand, Ali has been glad Yash ji advised him to go to an actual mine. His experience of shooting there and the way the film has visually taken shape would not have been the same.