Struggling poet Vijay (Guru Dutt) is ridiculed by his brothers and scorned by publishers. Vijay finds encouragement in a sweet prostitute Gulabo (Waheeda Rehman). One day he meets his exgirlfriend Meena (Mala Sinha) and gets hired as servant by her husband Mr.Ghosh (Rehman) who is a publisher. In a train mishap, the beggar clad in Vijay's coat dies while Vijay gets injured. Gulabo convinces Ghosh to print Vijay's poems, believing him to be dead. After recovering from injuries, Vijay's close friends and brothers refuse to recognize him for their ulterior motives and he is confined to mental asylum for claiming to be someone who is dead. He escapes from the mental asylum and arrives at the function held to honour him. There he denounces this corrupt and hypocrite world and declares that he is not Vijay.