Laadla (The Beloved Son) is the story of Raju (Anil Kapoor) who lives with his disabled mom (Farida Jalal). One day Raju on his way to a job interview saves the life of a rich textile mill owner (Anupam Kher) who offers him a job in his factory which is run by his ambitious daughter Sheetal (Sridevi). Sheetal's competitive attitude and open insults result in her making several enemies in the industry. Raju works as a mechanic in the mill and confronts Sheetal several times for the proper treatment of workers. He is also elected as the union leader. Raju meets Kaajal (Raveena Tandon), who also works in the textile mill, and they fall in love.
A competing textile mill owner Suryadev (Prem Chopra) tries to eliminate Sheetal. Raju saves her by pushing her. Though he saves her, Sheetal is enraged as Raju touches her and slaps him in front of all workers. Later Raju goes to Sheetal's cabin and slaps her for five times. Sheetal cannot fire Raju as then she has to tell all of her workmen she was slapped by Raju. For taking revenge, Sheetal makes an offer to marry him. When Raju turns her down she forces his mom to agree to the marriage. Raju accepts his mom's wishes and decides to sacrifice his love for Kaajal. Sheetal expects Raju to move in with her after their marriage and live in luxury, but Raju refuses and continues to work in the mill. Raju starts to live in Sheetal's house upon her mother's order though he continues his job as a mechanic in the mill which is now his own.
Slowly Raju starts to like Sheetal and starts loving her. He again saves her when some henchmen of Suryadev try to kill her. However tensions arise between Raju and Sheetal when she fires Kajaal out of jealousy as Sheetal sees Kajaal visiting Raju's house frequently, though Kajaal goes there to take care of Raju's lonely mother.
Labor issues cause the workers to go on strike. The competing mill owner plans to take advantage of the situation and hires hoods to set the mill on fire. Raju in his attempt to stop the fire is mistakenly arrested. Raju's mom goes to Sheetal's house to clear matters but is insulted and taunted by Sheetal, and collapses until Raju arrives to save his mother and slaps Sheetal and breaks his ties with her. A guilty Sheetal who truly is in love with Raju decides to kill herself until the rival mill owners kidnap and decide to kill her themselves, until Raju arrives to save her life. Afterwards, Sheetal hands over the company to Kajaal. She becomes a good wife to Raju and both of them lives happily ever after with each other love in Raju's house.