It is the 1930s and the fire of the freedom movement from distant Bengal and Delhi is warming the languid bones of the small town in Mysore, where Kaveri and Setu grow up. Theirs is a liberal, prosperous household and the family takes its privileges for granted. Mylaraiah, their father, believes that they are twice protected from such delusions as ‘swaraj’ - once by the British and then by the Maharaja.
While Setu absorbs their father’s unquestioning veneration of the British, Kaveri, profoundly affected by Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to their town, comes to recognize their attempts to be ‘more English than the English’ as rather shameful. In an attempt to follow her heart and take charge of her own future, Kaveri defies her father and participates in the Quit India march organized by Shyam, the hot-headed revolutionary she is attracted to. Angered and jealous, and loyal to his father, Setu is forced into betraying his sister.
The small town is shaken into life quite brutally when it faces a police firing for the first time in its history. But Kaveri is safe and home, or so Setu thinks.