Farmer Hasari Pal (Om Puri) moves his family to Calcutta to start a new life. Settling in the city's poorest area (the "city of joy"), he finds Texan doctor Max (Patrick Swayze), who has been assaulted and robbed, lying in the street. Hasari takes him to his district, where the homeless and lepers live. Max becomes friends with Hasari and clinic doctor Joan (Pauline Collins), and Hasari gets a job as a rickshaw driver. Max soon plunges into his new life.