Chokkalingam (Chokkalinga Bhagavathar), an 84-year-old man and his wife Visalakshi (Seetha Patti) live in Kollapatti village near Salem, enjoying their old age together. They brought up Vasu (Santhanam), his brother's son when he was orphaned at age of five. Vasu now lives in Chennai with his wife Thulasi (Archana) and child Valli (Baby Rajalakshmi).
Tragedy strikes Chokkalingam's life when Visalakshi dies. With no one to look after him in the village, he heads to Chennai to be with his foster son Vasu. Vasu works in a press and struggles on a meagre monthly income of Rs.750. Vasu advises Thulasi, who is seven months pregnant, to take care of Chokkalingam as he is old.
Chokkalingam slowly understands Vasu's financial situation. He offers his support to Thulasi in all domestic activities; he also takes Valli to school and brings her back every day. The financial difficulties of the family force Thulasi to use harsh words when Valli suffers from food poisoning after eating some sweet that Chokkalingam bought from the roadside shop. She scolds him and requests him not to interfere in their life. When he returns home, Vasu hears about this incident and scolds Thulasi for being harsh. Chokkalingam, who lived all his life with self-respect, feels hurt. He does not have his dinner and leaves home early the next morning. He reaches Vishranthi, an old age home, and joins there. He starts enjoying his life with other old people at the home and finds peace.
Vasu and Thulasi get upset when Chokkalingam goes missing. Vasu goes searching for him but is unable to locate him anywhere. Vasu scolds Thulasi for causing his foster father's departure by being mean to him. Thulasi is disheartened and also goes in search of him.
After a few days, Chokkalingam writes a letter to Vasu and Thulasi informing his whereabouts. Thulasi visits the old age home, seeks his forgiveness, and requests him to return with her. However, Chokkalingam explains that he did not leave them because of the scolding, but it just happened at the same time. He did not wish to be a burden to their already precarious financial situation. He says that had Vasu not been there in his life, he would have joined this home in any case, and hence advises her not to feel bad about his leaving them. He shows her around the home and how much the old people are enjoying each other's company and convinces her. Chokkalingam spends his days peacefully.
A few days later, Chokkalingam is informed that Thulasi has delivered a baby. He rushes to the Nursing Home to see the newborn. When the newborn child holds his hand, Chokkalingam is happy with the new arrival's love for him.
[from the book Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013, by G Dhananjayan, Blue Ocean Publishers, 2014]