Noshu is a struggling reporter whose commitment to the straight and narrow path does not fulfil his desires for a better life. He lives with his idealist brother Bani and his cantankerous wife Minni. He is in love with a woman from his neighbourhood named Mala. There is a grave shortage of food in the city and Mala’s parents pass away due to starvation. Noshu is aware of the businessmen who are hoarding the grain to inflate prices. His need for money stops him from exposing them and instead he sees an opportunity to better his lot by investing in the grain business. He requests his school teacher brother to take some money from the school funds and invests it in the black- market with the aid of the unscrupulous Ram Babu. His gamble pays off and soon he gets returns on his investment. He also manages to ingratiate himself with the big black-marketers through a mixture of blackmail and smooth talking. His new-found wealth also helps him in wooing Mala. But when Bani learns the source of his income he breaks off all relations with him. Mala also grows distant from him as she becomes aware of his involvement in racketeering.
The situation in the city keeps worsening and more and more people succumb to starvation. Bani loses his job and his wife deserts him. Noshu grows increasingly uncomfortable with the greed of his colleagues and his own complicity. He starts revealing the secrets of the black market in the newspaper under a false name. While this makes the racketeers insecure, it is unable to stop their operations. An epidemic has broken out in the city and the shortage of medicines makes it impossible to treat. Many of the people that Noshu knew in the neighbourhood die from it. Bani also becomes afflicted with it and the only person to take care of him is Mala. When Noshu learns of Bani’s illness he rushes to his side, but is too late. Bani’s death acts as the final straw for Noshu. He confesses everything to the police and as a result all the racketeers are arrested. Having lost everything due to his ambitions, Noshu is sentenced to prison for his crimes.