This is the last film of Apu trilogy made by Satyajit Ray.
Apu (Soumitra Chattopadhyay), the main protagonist of this film, is a graduate but jobless. He lives in a rent house just beside a railway yard somewhere in Kolkata. He has a dream for becoming a novelist and was writing a novel about his own drastic life story. However his life was going smoothly with seeking for a job until he met his old college friend Pulu (Swapan Mukherjee) who coaxes him to join him on a trip to his village in Khulna for the marriage of a cousin, Aparna (Sharmila Tagore).
On the day of the marriage it was revealed somehow that the bridegroom was mentally deranged and the wedding is canceled despite of her father’s protest. The Hindu villagers believed, according to prevalent tradition of Hinduism, the bride would not be married again if the pre-appointed auspicious hour for marriage once passed. Pulu offered Apu for being her husband and save his cousin from the disaster. After initial revulsion at this idea Apu agrees.
On getting back to Kolkata house, the newly married couple got a warm welcome from Apu’s neighbours. Their life started a good journey full of love. Apu took a clerical job. But this blooming relation was cut short with the death of Aparna while she was giving birth of their son, Kajal (Alok Chakravarty). Apu became depressed with grief and held the child responsible for the loss of his love.
This shock turned Apu a sudden wanderlust. He travelled in the corners of India while the child was growing up with his maternal grand-parents. Apu also threw his novel away that he had been writing over the years.
After half a decade, Pulu found Kajal growing naughty, wild and uncared for. He then went to seek Apu out. Finding Apu working at a mining quarry, Pulu advised him to take his fatherly responsibility for his son. Reluctantly, getting back to the village, Apu overwhelmed with the affection for Kajal on seeing him. But Kajal did not accept him as his father. At last Apu triumphed over the little boy and Kajal took him as his friend, not the father yet. They went back to Kolkata to start a life afresh.