In a small village of Idar in Sabarkantha District North Gujarat, a young man dreams of making it big some day. His father (Rajendra Gupta), the headmaster of the village school, tells him that dreams never come true. Gurukant Desai (Abhishek Bachchan) decides to go to Turkey and enters the spice trade and then later is promoted but refuses the job because he wants to work for himself and not another man.
Manik Dasgupta a.k.a. Nanaji (Mithun Chakraborty), who publishes a newspaper Swatantra, treats Guru as his son. Guru likewise looks to him as a father figure who gives him support during his early struggling days in Bombay. He also develops a strong friendship with his granddaughter, Meenu (Vidya Balan). Meenu develops multiple sclerosis as she grows up, and begins using a wheelchair later on in the film.
As Gurukant Desai's business grows into one of the largest in India, he ruthlessly pursues success. He smuggles in parts for his polyester mills, illegally creates goods, and manipulates stocks to make a higher profit. But when Manik Dasgupta learns that Guru's means of success are not always honest, he, along with a reporter of his newspaper, Shyam (Madhavan), decide to expose Guru's increasingly corrupt ways.
The stress of his battle with the newspaper causes Guru to have a stroke, and he is paralyzed on his right side. Meanwhile, Meenu (Vidya Balan), who is now married to Shyam, is slowly weakening from her illness, and eventually dies. In the end, Guru is brought before a government inquiry into his unethical actions, but he persuades the panel to clear him of most of the charges. He is charged with less allegations and is allowed to return to his company, and the film ends with Guru continuing to dream of the future, and even greater success.