Set in a working class Catholic family of Bombay, the film tells the story of the growth of political consciousness in the young Albert Pinto. Albert works as a mechanic in the garage and is proud of being friends with the owners of expensive cars. He believes he is on the right path to climb the social ladder as he does not get involved in strikes. His family does not share his views as his father is committed to the cause of the workers’ unions. His sister Joan also sympathises with their father. His brother Dominic feels alienated from them and has become a member of a gang. Albert is in a relationship with Stella but is also extremely frustrated with her. He does not approve of Stella’s nonchalant attitude towards her boss’s clear attraction towards her. He often gets into fights with his family members and Stella because of his quick temper. There is widespread grievance among the workers’ community and soon matters escalate into a strike.
While initially staying out of political matters, slowly Albert’s convictions regarding his way of life crumble. Although he thinks himself a friend of the businessman Vivek, a visit to his house gives him a sobering realisation of their class difference. His brother is arrested by the police and refuses Albert’s help in getting a job afterwards. The tipping point comes when his father comes home one night injured by the thugs sent by mill-owners to break the strike. He starts to realise that the businessmen he is supposedly friends with have interests that contradict that of the workers. Albert’s sympathies start shifting towards the workers as he becomes aware of their plight. His father tells him about the long years he stayed quiet about the workers’ misery thinking that is the way to a better life. But in the end he felt compelled to speak up.
When Albert and Stella go to watch a film, an announcement by a prominent businessman speaks outright lies about the workers’ strikes. An infuriated Albert interrupts the screening and is subsequently thrown out of the hall. Despite the media propaganda and arm-twisting by the mill-owners the workers stay resolute in their rightful demands. The film also touches upon the myriad struggles of its other characters, such as the growing disillusionment of Stella’s family with India and their desire to migrate to Canada, Stella’s own struggles with what is expected of her and what she wants and Joan’s plight of dealing with the everyday social stigma of being a disabled person.