The story of Salim is the story of a young Muslim trying to find his identity in a totally confusing world. He is born poor, lives the life of a petty thief and has as his heroes the smugglers and profiteers who have made it big. This is the world he knows and understands. This is the world he is brought up in. A world in which the cop and the thief live in precarious co-existence. Where the dividing line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is so thin, it is almost blurred. The world is one big jungle in which there are no rules. Salim’s family has all the typical problems that plague the urban poor. His father, a militant textile worker, has not been re-employed after the historic textile strike in Bombay. His brother Javed, an electrician and the only educated member of the family, was killed in a tragic industrial accident. Salim’s mother earns a pittance by taking in sewing from the neighbourhood poor. His younger sister, Anees, is the only one who has not been exposed to the harsh world outside and Salim takes care to keep her that way. So, in a sense, it is only through Salim’s illicit earning (or robbery and extortion) that the family makes ends meet but as his mother puts it, “When you’re poor, you don’t question the source”.
It is into this bleak world of unemployment, theft, gang warfare and police brutality that winds of change waft in. a meeting with a prospective suitor for his sister Anees, brings him into contact with Aslam Ahmed, a young man as poor as Salim perhaps, but not quite so cynical. Other events—the lonely death of a gangster friend, riots in the city, a film on the Bhiwandi riots screened in his slum, and a face-to-face encounter with the rich and the powerful of the underworld… cause Salim to rethink about himself, his work, his world.
He had to find the answers. He had to. And these questions led him onto a journey from which there was no coming back. He had to move forward in his quest and that journey would inevitably lead to an ironic conclusion.
(From the official press booklet)