Vinod Kumar Malhotra (Dilip Kumar), an honest fearless and crusading journalist, editing at an outspoken newspaper had vowed to eradicate the evils of illicit liquor, bootlegging, 'satta', gambling and organised crime from the big city.
Vinod Kumar and his wife Sudha (Waheeda Rahman) were very fond of an orphan called Raja (Anil Kapoor), who lived in their 'basti' (colony). This orphan was a child of the slums, who had neither the love nor affection of his parents.
Being a child of the slums, a hutment dweller, Raja had inevitably taken to bootlegging and black marketing of cinema tickets for a living. Vinod Kumar however, took Raja in hand and began guiding him in the right direction. He worked hard to instill good values in Raja.
Gradually, Raja gave up drinking, gambling and all other anti-social practices into which he had drifted. As their love for him grew, Vinod Kumar and his wife began to treat Raja as their own son.
Geeta (Rati Agnihotri) was working in the newspaper under Vinod Kumar. She was friendly with Raja and in course of time her friendly feelings tranform into love.
And now, fate caused the path of the two most powerful men to cross. On one hand there was the fearless, crusading journalist Vinod Kumar - and on the other S. K. Vardhan (Amrish Puri), a powerful wealthy and respected figure of the big city whose cloak of respectability hid all the social evils and crimes, which flourished beneath.
When Vinod Kumar and S. K. Vardhan clash, the honest man finds himself virtually overpowered by the wide spread evil tentacles of this seemingly respectable gentleman.
Vardhan's way of life, his power, his reach, his ruthlessness, all cause Vinod Kumar to come face-to-face with the realities of big city life, and of what really goes on beneath the surface.
In a larger-than-life transformation Vinod Kumar Malhotra now gets bigger, better (or worse) than Vardhan himself, and he now takes over all these illicit and illegal operations, which had given Vardhan his wealth, his power and his ruthlessness.
This selfless crusader, this idealist who could once sacrifice everything for the sake of truth, is now transformed into an image that is the complete opposite of what he was.
When Raja learns from Geeta about this change in image of the father figure he idolised, he is heartbroken. And then, as Vinod reaches the point of no- return, as he reaches the crossroads and perceives the big dilemma of where his life has reached, a confrontation from where there is no return takes place.