During a police raid in a gambling establishment a police constable Moti catches a sex worker named Kesar. He takes pity on her situation and refrains from reporting her. The two keep meeting during Moti’s patrols through the city and soon strike up a friendship. Moti is moved when Kesar says that she wants to leave her present situation behind and begin a new life. Moti is conflicted about his growing fondness for Kesar, while she too cannot bring herself to trust a policeman. They go through many ups and downs, particularly because of Moti’s revulsion towards her profession. Kesar also has an old uncle who is an alcoholic and keeps exploiting her for her money. Despite all these obstacles they soon find themselves falling in love.
One night Kesar decides to leave the brothel and join Moti. But Moti is too conscious of his image in society to bring Kesar home, so he puts her up in an apartment. While she is there Kesar becomes acutely aware of society’s prejudice towards her. She is unable to find any other job because of her reputation. A despairing Kesar wants to return to her old ways but Moti convinces her otherwise. He finally takes her to his house to meet his mother. Moti’s mother devotes her time to praying and taking care of Moti. She becomes an image of virtue in Kesar’s eyes, something she fears she will never become. Her internalised guilt about her past makes the place unbearable for her and she leaves. She goes to the countryside to stay hidden from Moti. Her drunken uncle also follows her there to stop her from leaving. Afraid that he might reveal her whereabouts she locks him away. A distraught Moti reaches the riverside thinking of ending his life. But Moti’s uncle asks him to think of his mother and go on living. Kesar’s uncle escapes to go and tell Moti about her. But Kesar strikes him down with a stick and accidentally ends up killing him. When the news of the murder reaches the police a search for Kesar begins and she is arrested. Moti offers to help her escape but Kesar does not allow him to do so. Kesar is tried for the murder and sentenced to deportation across the kaala pani. Kesar leaves Moti with a final request: that he not end his life for her sake.