Makbul was born under the sign of the elephant. He grew up in daily proximity to the wild and domesticated elephants that inhabited the forests around his native village in southern India. Over the objections of his mother, Makbul goes to live with his father Sabu in the forest, to follow his footsteps and to learn the dangerous profession of the mahout, or elephant.

When an elephant calf named Vikrama is born, the animal is placed under Makbul's care. The boy raises and trains the elephant and they become inseparable companions. Sabu's health deteriorates and he dies, leaving the boy without a father.

Years pass and Makbul and his elephant grow to adulthood together. But the forestry industry is changing, too, and there is less need for elephants and their trainers to do the hard work therefore the government decides to sell Vikrama at an auction. Makbul is cruelly separated from his elephant. Vikrama is badly treated by his new owner and he runs amok and kills him.

Finally, the two are re-united and they set off on a journey somewhere in India, not knowing where they're headed or what future awaits them, but happy to be together again.