Set during the period of Communist rule in the Indian state of Kerala, this film is an allegory about political hero worship. It begins in the 1950's. The unionized workers in a small town tile factory are a odds with the management over increasing mechanization. One night workers' charismatic leader, Sreedharan, a dedicated Communist revolutionary, is badly beaten by unknown assailants, which only solidifies his position. But when the factory's proprietor is found murdered, Sreedharan becomes the prime suspect. He disappears and is presumed dead. Without his leadership, the workers movement splits into rival factions. Then, nearly ten years later, Sreedharan appears once again. A changed man, he is no longer fit to lead the workers, but, to their own possible detriment, they still expect him to unite their movement once again.
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