During the 1947 Partition of India, Gautam Kumar and his family board a train to India with thousands of refugees to save themselves from the terrible riots. In the chaos, Gautam's young son, Bharat, accidentally loses his baby sister, Gudiya. Gautam stays behind to search for her, despite knowing the risk, and tells his son to take his mother and two younger siblings to Bharat's aunt's imported goods store. Before letting go, Gautam has Bharat promise him that Bharat will keep the family together in his place.
As a child, Bharat takes all sorts of odd jobs to support his family. In 1964, as a pre-teen, he joins The Great Russian Circus with his best friend, Vilayati, and spends a number of years there, becoming one of the biggest attractions of the show.
In the mid-1970s, Bharat joins the Indian migration prompted by the discovery of oil in the Gulf region, as he hopes to earn enough to send back home. Here, he falls in love with his chief engineer Kumud Raina and survives a mining accident. He tells Kumud he can't marry her, as he is afraid such a commitment will come in the way of fulfilling his father's promise, and leaves Saudi Arabia after his visa expires. Back home in India, Kumud arrives during his sister's wedding to announce their love, and says she is okay with being in a relationship without marriage. Bharat's mother agrees on Bharat's wish that they can be in a live-in relationship.
A few years pass and Bharat's aunt dies. His now-elderly uncle, in need of money, decides to sell the imported goods store, a move Bharat disagrees with. He leaves India again with Vilayati to take jobs as sailors in order to earn enough money to buy the store from his uncle. After 8 months aboard the ship, Bharat returns to India and successfully buys the store. He runs it throughout the 1990s as more changes in India take place, and life goes on.
Kumud becomes the creative director of the then-newly-formed channel, Zee TV, and runs a program in which relatives separated during the Partition are reunited. Bharat is featured in hopes of finding his long-lost sister, Gudiya. A woman who was adopted as a child by an American family during the Partition comes on the program. Bharat converses with her, and realizes that she is indeed Gudiya. An emotional reunion ensues and his sister travels to India to see them. Bharat's mother passes away soon after. Bharat hopes to also find his father through the show but is unsuccessful.
In the present day, an elderly Bharat finally decides to sell his aunt's imported goods store, which, up to this point, he stubbornly refused to do despite the store's losing money. Before letting go on the train, Bharat's father had promised that he would come reunite with the rest of the family at the store, thus explaining why Bharat bought and held on to the store for so long. Bharat wistfully realizes that his father is probably too old now to be still be alive. His father's spirit appears to him and assures Bharat.