Kari Gurukkal, also known as Pulimaranja Thondachan (the great grandfather who turned into tiger), is a folk god of Pulayas, a subaltern community in North Kerala. According to legends, Kari was a master of martial arts and other arts. Envious, the upper caste people ordered him to bring tiger mane and tail to cure the madness of the ruler. For this, he had to take the tiger form and go to the forest. To get his human form back when he returns from the forest, his wife should pour water used for cleaning rice and beat him with broom. But when he returns from the forest, his wife got terrified by his form and fails to do what she was told to do. Unable to take human form, Kari goes back to the forest.
Prakashan (Murali) is a graduate who leads a simple life of a farmer. He is more involved in local issues and politics than his personal life. Once Prakashan plans to stage a play titled 'Pulijanmam' for a local arts club. He does a lot of research on Kari Gurukkal and brings up the script. He himself rehearses to portray the main character in the drama, Thondachhan Theyyam Kari Gurukkal.
For playing the role of Vellachi, the female lead in the drama, Prakashan finds Shehnaz (Sindhu Menon), a Muslim girl. The rehearsals go on, but due to the outbreak of communal riots in the area, the drama was cancelled. The Hindu-Muslim harmony in the village is broken due to the riots that lasted long. The situations take a U-turn and all the blame comes on Prakashan which makes him lose his close friends. In the mean time, his sister Anila (Samvrutha Sunil) leaves the family behind and takes the life of her choice which makes their mother lose her mental balance. Prakashan finds every situation he rehearsed for long in the drama to happen in his real life. In a final attempt to regain his life, he goes to meet Shehnaz and invite her to his life; but of the fear of Prakashan getting killed by her community men, she asks Prakashan to go back. The film ends when Prakashan realizes that his fate takes the same end as Kari Master.
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