The film chronicles the story of Shankar who gets a job at the Shajahan Hotel in Calcutta and the various characters he comes across and grows close to. Among the characters Shankar meets in the hotel the first and closest to him is Satyasundar or Sata Bose, a charismatic and helpful man who helps Shankar learn the job. He then gets to know Karabi Guha who is a hostess at one of the luxury suites at the hotel, and Anindya Pakrashi the son of renowned businessman Madhab Pakrashi. In a professional manner Karabi helps Anindya finalise a deal with a German investor and the time the two spend together brings them romantically together. However, Karabi is unable to keep up with the pressure Anindya’s mother puts her in to leave her son forever and one night she commits suicide in the suite itself. Following this the fate of Anindya Pakrashi or his parents is left unknown as they stop visiting the hotel. Meanwhile a group of pilots and air hostesses come to Shajahan at a short notice and one of them, Sujata Mitra grows close to both Sata and Shankar. From the beginning the manager of the hotel, Marco Polo is unsettled about some matter for which he even hires a private detective. He succumbs to a drinking habit and eventually leaves his job at the hotel as there is a change in ownership and a new manager takes his place. The last section of the film shows almost every old staff leaving the hotel beginning with Marco Polo and then Sata Bose. Sata decides to marry Sujata and for a better life leaves for Mumbai and Gomez, the violinist is also fired from his job. Soon Shankar is asked to leave as well and as he prepares to go, he receives a letter from Sata stating that Sujata has died in a plane crash on her last flight as an air hostess. The film ends with Shankar leaving and a distraught Sata roaming on the beaches of Mumbai.
The film is adapted from a Bengali best-selling novel Chowringhee written by Shankar. The film was a major commercial success upon its release.