The film begins in medias res, with a masked person being brought to the Central Jail in Chennai, India. When asked by a fellow-inmate for the reason behind his imprisonment, the masked person replies that he is imprisoned for attempting to do good for the people. The masked person is revealed to be Sivaji (Rajinikanth).
The film then winds into a flashback that shows him returning to Chennai from the USA as a software systems architect. He establishes a non-profit trust called the Sivaji Foundation to build a network of hospitals and educational institutions to serve the poor free of cost. However, he faces the obstacles of a corrupt civil service. Sivaji pays the bribes demanded by the government officials for the greater good of the people, but at one stage, the bribes demanded become so high that he has to mortgage his house to pay them. He also faces another obstacle in the form of Adiseshan (Suman), an influential businessman and philanthropist, who sees Sivaji Foundation as competition, because he too runs educational institutions and hospitals which are profit-making centres for him. Using his political strings, he ensures the government repeals the permits they issued on the construction of Sivaji Foundation. Sivaji approaches a lawyer to fight his case, selling his own car to pay the lawyer’s fee. However in court, he is forced to admit he bribed numerous officials. This undermines his case and the judge passes a stay order on the construction of Sivaji Foundation.
In parallel, Sivaji falls in love with an orthodox girl named Tamizhselvi (Shriya). Her family is initially scared and angered by the overbearing nature of Sivaji’s family, though they eventually accede to Sivaji’s request for Tamizhselvi’s hand in marriage after a lot of persuasion. However upon asking for his horoscope, an astrologer predicts impeding doom leading up to Sivaji’s death if the two are united. When Tamizhselvi refuses the proposal due to her concern for Sivaji, he calms her fears and manages to convince her to marry him.