This film chronicles the shift from feudal social arrangements to Independent capitalism and urban mass culture. Middle-class clerk Subrata Majumdar (A Chatterjee) persuades his wife Arati (Mukherjee) to take a job as a saleswoman. The large joint family, including his sister (played by Bhaduri in her debut) is horrified at the thought of a working woman in their midst. For Arati, going door-to-door selling knitting machines opens up a new world which includes an Anglo-Indian friend, Edith (Redwood), and her employer Mukherjee (Bannerjee). Earning money changes Arati's status in the family, causing further problems, especially when her husband loses his job.
When Edith is unjustly sacked for racial reasons, Arati resigns in protest and throws the family into crisis. Different characters stand in for the conflicting ideologies: the father-in-law expects feudal loyalty from his former students; the entrepreneur Mukherjee espouses ruthless business ethics and the salesgirl Edith exemplifies the orthodox bias against working women as ‘Westernised’ and with loose morals.
The film ends with an almost socialist-realist idiom, as the couple stride with determination into the teeming proletariat on the street.