KATHA, a tragic-comedy, is the tale of the "Hare and the Tortoise", retold in contemporary context. Today it is not the slow and steady 'Tortoise' who wins the race, but it is the smooth talking, con-man like the 'Hare' who seems to get ahead. 'Packaging' has precedence to 'Substance'.
Our tale begins with Raja (Naseer), a simple sincere soul who lives in a chawl. Raja secretly loves Sandhya (Deepti) a pretty chawl girl, but is unable to express his feelings. Tehre is Dadiamma, a lovable story-telling grandma, and Bapu an invalid constantly ringing for attention. And then, there are other colourful chawl dwellers who live harmoniously, and sometimes disarmously, in this amicable chawl, somewhere in the heart of Bombay.
One day, a long-lost friend of Raja's enters this bustling neighbourhood.
Basu (Farooque) dazzles the men and charms his ways into the hearts of the women; and thus takes over not only Raja's humble home but also wins the heart of his sweetheart Sandhya. The race has begun.
Next, impersonating as an amateur golf enthusiast, Basu meets Mr. Dhindoria, the boss of Footprint Shoe Company where Raja is a mere Clerk. Conning his way, Basu lands himself a high positioned job there. Mr. Dhindoria is highly impressed with this bright young man. But then, so is Mrs. Anuradha Dhindoria, his attractive second wife. She too falls prey to his charms. To top it all, Basu also flirts with Jo Jo, the bubbling sprightly daughter of Mr. Dhindoria... the Hare has left the Tortoise far behind.
Meanwhile, Raja prods along, a good samaritan at the chawl, fills in for Basu at the office, and watches painfully Sandhya's growing involvement with Basu. One day, Sandhya's parents come with a proposal of marriage. Raja resigns himself, he has lost the girl.
However, things come to an end when at a cosy hideout near a beach, while Basu and Anuradha are whispering sweet nothings to each other, Jo Jo spots them and decides to expose them. Basu is sacked from Footprint Shoe Company. On the other hand, there is Basu's impending marriage to Sandhya. Finding the situation too uncomfortable, Basu packs and leaves clandestinely in search of greener pastures, leaving Raja to face the situation.
Raja offers to take the hand of the jilted girl whom he still loves. But, she has lost her innocence along the way and she finds herself unworthy of his love. In an emotional scene Sandhya realises the 'substance' of Raja's love.
The Tortoise crosses the finishing line, but has he really won?
(From the official press booklets)