The rickshaw man Pappu (Sathyan) adopts the baby girl Lakshmi (Baby Padmini/Vijaya) having rescued her, as the title suggests, from the ‘gutter’. Having dropped out of school and earlier worked as a railway porter, he now works hard to provide Lakshmi with an education and with all her needs. She marries a rich man, Gopi (Nazir), which does not, contrary to expectations, signify the end of her foster-father’s struggles, for now she is ashamed of her humble origins. In the end, after Pappu has declined her offer to live in her new home, her husband censures her, and she is punished by fate for her ingratitude when Pappu falls terminally ill. The ‘punishment’ is further heightened by forcing on the woman the guilt of a barely-concealed incest relationship since she insists on seeing Pappu as a parental figure. Sethumadhavan’s first critically acclaimed film featured a rare contribution by noted Malayalam novelist Kesavadev, integrated into Bimal Roy-type realist melodrama. The film was remade in Tamil as Babu (1971).