Kashinath (Sunny Deol), abandoned on the ghats of Banaras when he was an infant, is reared under the tutelage of Shambhunath an honest righteous man.
Shambhunath (Amrish Puri), a good samaritan, freedom fighter and social worker, commands great respect in the town; to the extent that the locals do not even want to name their offspring without his blessings and consent.
On his part, Shambhunath also loves the townfolk as his own children; advising, counselling and admonishing them all for their own good. But the person most dear to him is Kashi.
A young, strong and handsome lad, Kashinath too adores his foster father more than anybody else in the world. The father and son due share a very special relationship.
When the local 'Vaid' advises Kashinath to take his ailing father to Bombay for medical treatment, he is overjoyed. He goes about ecstatically telling everybody in town about departure to the city of his dreams, where he is sure he would make it big some day. Besides he would also be meeting his brother Shiv (K.K. Raina), Shambhunath's real son, who lives in Bombay with his family.
On their rival in Bombay the father and son are baffled by the eerie and stony silence in the locality where Shiv resides. And gradually, their myths about the city, where everything is supposed to be within the realm of possibility, are rudely shattered. The doctor diagnoses Shambhunath's disease as cancer in the advanced stage, and says there is little that be done about it as such a late stage.
Kashi also realizes that the existence of his brother and the fellow shopkeepers depends on the mercy of the blood-thirsty Katiya and his brothers, who have unleashed a reign of terror to grab their land by hook or crook. His dreams turn into nightmare!
However, for Kashi, the only silver lining is Gauri (Meenakshi) who understands the problem of Kashi, and is the only solace during his depressing and difficult moments. She is the inspiration who impels him to move on even in the most trying times.
The heartless Katiya with the help of his notorious brothers heaps atrocities on the helpless people, and Shiv too becomes a victim of it. It is then that the simple hearted and undesigning Kashi realizes that things have actually reached a point of no turn. Just as Gandhiji had said that if I were to choose between cowardice and violence, I would choose the latter; Kashi embraces violence to eliminate Kaitya and his brothers one-by-one.
And, Kashi had his reason for choosing this lethal (Ghatak) path!
Could he forget the humiliation of his father at the hands of the hardhearted Katiya, who forced him to come down on all fours and bark like a dog.
The cold-bloded killing of his brother and other people in the locality.
In the deadly fight that ensures between Kashi and Katiya, the latter's entire family is wiped out before exe finally falls on Katiya's head.