Cabdriver Narsingh (Soumitra Chatterjee) makes the mistake of overtaking the car of the sub-district officer and the infuriated official cancels his permit. Returning to his native village, he agrees to give a ride to Sukhanram (Charu Prokash Ghose) and his "maidservant" Gulabi (Waheeda Rehman). Sukhanram offers to pay for Narsingh's new permit, in exchange for his transporting the opium Sukhanram sells. Gulabi, trying to escape her life of prostitution, turns to Narsingh, but he has fallen in love with Neeli (Rama Guha-Thakurta), a missionary schoolteacher who lives with her brother Josef (Jnanesh Mukherji). Narsingh discovers that Neeli loves another and starts carrying Sukhanram's goods, which causes Josef to turn away from him. He decides to quit working for Sukhanram and help Gulabi, but the two have left. Narsingh sets out to find Gulabi.