The young Brahmin girl in this story has a disastrous horoscope. In an Indian village in 1828, this can be a real handicap. The fact that she is mute only compounds her difficulties. Her horoscope predicts that she will become a widow at an early age. If this turns out as predicted, in addition to being bad luck for her prospective husbands, it is bad luck for her, as she will, according to the customs of the time, have to commit suttee (Sati, the title of this film). That means she will have to be burned alive on her husband's funeral pyre. To avoid this fate, her family has hit upon the appealing strategem of having her marry a banyan tree. This, apparently, is perfectly legal. Alas, fate is stronger than strategy in this case, and things do not turn out well.