Duraiswamy (Kuppusamy), a septuagenarian freedom fighter leads a quiet life with the pension for the freedom fighter. His son Sabhapathy (Delhi Ganesh) draws a meagre salary working in a firm and is married to Kamala (Usha). Sabhapathy's older daughter Vijaya is married and settled in Coimbatore and the younger Mallika (Uma) works as a market research field officer.
One day Sabhapathy receives a letter from Vijaya seeking financial help as her husband's factory is in a lockout. The family members brainstorm on how to help and Duraiswamy sacrifices his daily newspapers and decides to rent his room to generate additional money. They get a tenant, a youngster named Shankar (Vijay) who works as a junior executive at a firm.
During a visit to a client's office, Shankar happens to see a middle-aged woman attending to her job with grace and dexterity and admires that, every time he makes a visit. One day he finds her to be a totally changed person. Later, the lady happens to travel with him in the lift and the lift operator asks the lady about her deceased son. Now Shankar understands the reason for her change. That night Shankar has a dream in which he poses a question — How fair is it to make a septuagenarian suffer and live while a child is snatched away suddenly from a loving mother. He gets an answer from a figure - 'there is no distinction between life and death, the distinction emerges only in the minds of the viewer. I see sorrow and happiness as one and the same and everything is MAYA.' The silhouetted figure transforms into a skull and Shankar wakes up with a jolt. Meanwhile, Duraiswamy becomes very sick and is admitted in a nursing home. Shankar visits the old man there and offers help to Sabhapathy. Later, he recovers and is brought back home.
Sabhapathy fears that his father's health might fail and decides to ask for his authorization letter to collect his pension. Mallika feels that it is unethical and discusses this with Shankar and asks his opinion on whether a person should be corrected for their wrong, irrespective of their relationship. Shankar tells that relationships should not matter when the issue is of moral significance. Kamala admonishes her daughter for her frequent chats with Shankar and Mallika retorts saying that human beings appear to be more perturbed about external things than what actually takes place within the mind. One day Duraiswamy receives a letter from an organization stating that they are organizing a function to honour him as a freedom fighter. He goes to Maduranthakam along with Mallika and Shankar to attend the function. During the journey, Duraiswamy feels that his prolonged life dogged by illness is a strain on his son and looks at himself with resentment and walks out of their lives. Shankar and Mallika go in search of him and see a receding figure but Shankar tells Mallika that it is not her grandfather. Both turn towards the village to seek the old man and his spirit there.
[from the book Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013, by G Dhananjayan, Blue Ocean Publishers, 2014]