In late 19th Century, Bengal Bhubaneswar Chowdhury (Jackie Shroff) is a wealthy and tyrannical Zamidar (Squire). He has two main obsessions: his desperate attempts for an heir, which even his new second wife Jashomati seems unable to deliver; and competing with his regional rivals to produce the most magnificent effigy of a goddess for the annual Durga Puja ceremony. This year he concocts a master plan - why not change the face of the goddess for the most powerful woman on Earth - Queen Victoria. Meantime his two wives Mahomaya and Jashomati try to look out for one another especially as Bhubeneshwar begins to sexually assault his younger wife each night. Traumatised and lonely, Jashomati is dangerously drawn towards the youthful sculptor who has been employed to create the great effigy of Durga, Goddess of destruction.
The book, Binodini, is the story of a young woman, who is left to her own devices when her sickly husband dies soon after they are married. She returns to her village and lives there for a couple of months until she sees one of her relations passing by there on her way to somewhere else. Binodini hails the woman and the two soon agree that it would be best if Binodini came to live with the woman and her son, Mahendra (who, by the way, was one of the first to see Binodini's photo when she was unwed and up for grabs yet refused her on account of his being "unready for marriage"). Now, when the two arrive the woman's son and his new bride are in the throes of passion, constantly sneaking off to be alone together; this infatuation does not last long, however, when Mahendra begins to see that his wife's friend, Binodini, is more his type. The story details the lives of these three and Mahendra's best friend as they deal with certain issues as distrust, adultery, lies, and numerous fallings-out between them. The movie correctly depicts what Tagore so skillfully wrote and is a sad, stirring tale of the deceit and sorrow that come from being unsatisfied and unhappy.