In 1942 British India, Harnam betrays a freedom fighter, and as a result is rewarded, but the freedom fighter is killed, leaving his wife, Ganga and family devastated and destitute. Years later, after the Indian Independence in 1947, the freedom fighter's son, Bharat, has grown up and goes to London for higher studies. On his arrival in Britain, He meets his father's college friend, Sharma (Madan Puri) with his westernized wife, Rita and daughter, Preeti and the hippie son, Shankar. Preeti has long blonde hair, wears mini-dresses, smokes and drinks and has no idea of Indian values till she meets Bharat. He is, of course, shocked to see that many Indians in London are ashamed of their roots and even changed their names to sound Western. Or others who long for their country, but stay in the UK for economic reasons. Like Sharma with his stack of KL Saigal records. He takes it upon himself to try and change their way of thinking while both Bharat and Preeti fall in love with each other. Later on, with his mother's and Guruji's approval, he promised to marry Preeti.
Preeti is impressed by Bharat's idealism and wants to marry him, but doesn't want to live in India. Bharat wants her to come to India and see what it's like before she rejects it. Of course, the purity of India redeems her and she gives up smoking, drinking and minis to adopt the traditional lifestyle.
Purab Aur Paschim was selected for the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), held in Goa.
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