The film begins with a felicitation ceremony arranged for Dr. Bhaskar (Amitabh Bachchan) who has just written a book titled Anand. Bhaskar is a cancer specialist and after the congratulatory speeches, he reveals that the book is not a work of fiction but taken from his own diary and pertains to his experiences with a real person named Anand.
In flashback, Bhaskar is shown as an honest and committed physician who is happier dealing with genuine suffering than with the rich and their imagined ailments. He is blunt to a fault and does not conceal a patient's true predicament from him or her, regardless of the seriousness of the condition. Dr. Kulkarni, his friend, introduces him to Anand (Rajesh Khanna) who is dying from intestinal cancer. Bhaskar is struck by Anand's good cheer and is shocked to learn that Anand is aware of his true condition.
Anand and Bhaskar become fast friends and Anand decides to bring happiness into Bhaskar's life. Bhaskar had once cured Renu (Sumita Sanyal) of pneumonia. He fell in love with her but was unable to propose to her. Anand decides to bring Renu and Bhaskar together, and the two are together when Anand finally dies.