Fed up with being continuously bullied by his elder brother, Krishna sets fire to his brother's motor-bike, which lands him in big trouble with his mother. She takes him to the nearby Apollo Circus and tells him that he can only come home when he earns 500 rupees to pay for the damaged bike. Krishna agrees and finds a job with the circus. One day his boss asks him to run an errand and, when Krishna returns, he finds that the circus has packed up and left. Alone, with nowhere to turn, and unable to find the money to repay his mother, he travels to the nearest big city: Bombay. As soon as he arrives, he is robbed of his meager possessions. He follows the thieves, befriends them, and ends up in the city's notorious red-light area of Falkland Road, near the Grant Road Railway Station.
One of the thieves, Chillum, a drug pusher and addict, helps Krishna get a job at the Grant Road Tea Stall. Baba a local drug dealer employs people like Chillum who are addict to his drugs. His wife is also a prostitute and they have a daughter. Baba's wife is annoyed that she has to raise her daughter in such an environment, a promise which Baba could not fulfill or rather has no intention to fulfill. Krishna gets a new name, "Chaipau," and learns to live with it. His goal is to get the money he needs to return home to his mother, but he soon finds out that saving money in his surroundings with the people near him is next to impossible. To make matters worse, he has a crush on a young prostitute named Sola Saal. He sets fire to her room and attempts to escape with her, but the two are caught. Sola Saal who is brought forcefully into the business is very adamant. The madam of the house ask Baba to cajole her into the business. Baba a regular in this business does for her.
This gets Krishna a severe beating, and he loses his job. He works odd jobs to feed himself and look after Chillum, who can't live without his drugs. To get more money, Krishna and his pals rob an elderly Parsi man by breaking into his house in broad daylight.
One night while returning home, the boys & daughter of Baba are apprehended by the police and taken to a juvenile home. Eventually, Krishna escapes and goes back to his world. He finds that new recruit in Baba's drug business who is likely to end his life the way Chillum did. He meets Sola Saal and tries to convince her to run with him. Here she reveals that she is charmed by Baba and not interested in him. In a fit of rage he goes and kills Baba , returning back to his life of drug-pushers, pimps and prostitutes, still nurturing his dream of one day returning to his mother.