The Zamindar of Selvapuram (S.V.Ranga Rao) is unable to come to terms with his wife Parvathi's death and is still in grief. His sons; Bhaskar (S.S. Rajendran) an acclaimed painter and Balu (A.V.M. Rajan) a student live with him. Sabapathi (M.R. Radha), the Zamindar's brother-in-law, his wife (C.K. Saraswathy), and their son also live in the same house. Sabapathi is a parasite and schemes to swindle his brother-in-law's wealth. Bhaskar, passionate about beauty, desires to marry a beautiful and educated girl. Balu gets attracted to Malathi (C.S. Pushpalatha) his college mate.
Kali, (S.V. Subbiah) the Zamindar's, Man Friday, advises the Zamindar to get Bhaskar married so that the bride would fill the void at home. The Zamindar requests Sabapathi to look for a suitable girl for Bhaskar. Sabapathi, who was waiting for this kind of an opportunity scheme to get Bhaskar married to Kalyani (R.Vijayakumari), a dark-complexioned, uneducated girl whose brother is Chidambaram (C.K. Nagesh), a small-time grocer. Sabapathi takes Bhaskar and Balu to Chidambaram's house and misleads them by showing Chidambaram's other sister Malathi, a fair and lovely girl. While Bhaskar agrees, Balu gets upset about seeing his sweetheart as the prospective bride. Based on Kali's feedback, the Zamindar gives consent without meeting the bride. On the wedding day, Bhaskar is shocked to see Kalyani as the bride. But he understands Kalyani's precarious situation and decides to go ahead with the marriage.
Sabapathi, in order to save his skin, blames Chidambaram of manipulation. The Zamindar who is unhappy over not getting a beautiful daughter-in-law cancels all reception arrangements. He even refuses to bless the newlywed couple. He treats Kalyani badly and his disposition affects Kalyani very much.
Kalyani unaware of any of the manipulations apologizes to Bhaskar and he accepts her wholeheartedly. Kalyani takes charge of the household and works hard to impress the Zamindar.
Time passes; Kalyani conceives. Bhaskar, not knowing that Kalyani is illiterate sends a note to Kalyani to prepare dinner for some guests and gets disappointed when dinner is not ready. He reprimands her for not responding to his instructions and learns that she is an illiterate only when she apologizes. After this incident, Kalyani has a miscarriage, shattering Bhaskar's dreams.
Kalyani decides to become literate and seeks Balu's help. While Bhaskar is away in Delhi for a painting competition, Sabapathi attempts to steal money and jewels from the safe and Kalyani stops him. To take revenge, he alleges an illicit relationship between Kalyani and Balu. Zamindar, on spotting Kalyani and Balu together, while she is taking tuitions in Balu's room, throws both Kalyani and Balu out of home believing in Sabapathi's words, despite their pleas of innocence.
Bhaskar dejected after losing the competition at Delhi, finds his old friend Mohan (S.A. Asokan) on the road in an inebriated condition. Mohan says his beautiful wife ditched him and explains to Bhaskar that beauty is just skin deep and that an individual's character and culture are more important than education and sophistication. Bhaskar regrets his behavior and rushes back home to meet Kalyani. He comes to know that Kalyani and Balu were sent out of the home with an allegation of an extramarital affair. He does not believe in that story and tries to pacify his angry father and when the Zamindar does not yield, Bhaskar leaves the house too.
The Zamindar gets into a depression after both his sons leave him and become bedridden. Sabapathi feels that it is the right opportunity to usurp all the wealth and requests the Zamindar to sign on a stamp paper. At the same time Kalyani, on learning about Zamindar's health condition, rushes to meet him with Bhaskar. When the Zamindar is about to sign the deed, Kalyani grabs the document and reads the content aloud, surprising everyone around including Sabapathi and Bhaskar. The document says that the Zamindar is transferring his entire wealth to Sabapathi, as his sons have deserted him. The Zamindar understands Kalyani's worth and seeks an apology. The family unites. The Zamindar agrees to Balu's proposal to marry Malathi and presents happily both the daughter-in-law to his wife.
[from the book Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013 by G Dhananjayan, Blue Ocean Publishers, 2014]