Rani Mukherji as Badki
Badki is a fun-loving and happy-go-lucky girl, drunk on the masti of Banaras, but with eyes as crystal clear and innocent as the waters of the sacred Ganga. Her life is full of laughter and the love of her family. When problems crop up, she takes them in her stride, not letting them tarnish her smile. So when the family falls upon bad days, and her studies are stopped, she just girds her loins and helps her mother to keep things going. Protective to a fault, she shields her younger sister Chutki from the problems dogging the family. She is deeply hurt though, when her father keeps wishing she was born a son. Even when the going gets tougher, and she finds herself battling the hard and ruthless city of Mumbai, she does not buckle under, but faces it all with exemplary courage. And she does not hesitate in paying the highest price to support her family.
Konkona Sen Sharma as Chutki
Chutki is a spunky spirited and crazy young girl, with eyes that sparkle with mischief. Playing pranks on her hapless victims, teasing her sister Badki, and harassing her parents are her favourite pastimes, but she also loves her family with a fierce passion. Innocent and protected from the harsh circumstances of her family by Badki and their mother, she revels in their love. Gifted with a sharp and intelligent mind, she is unaware of the sacrifices Badki is making to keep her education going. When she moves to the big city, she finds a wide open sky to open her wings and soar. She excels at work, and actually finds a man who loves her with all her madness and eccentricities.
Jaya Bachchan as Sabitri
Sabitri is the backbone and anchor of the Sahay family. She bears the brunt of every crisis the family encounters. She is dismayed as she sees her husband turn bitter with his failures and turn away from the family. She works hard, making both ends meet, protecting her daughters, facing up to menacing relatives. But her husband's illness is the last straw that breaks her spirit. Alone, bewildered, she leans hard on Badki, her only solace. In her crisis, she does not realize when Badki has reached her own breaking point. And she is the only one who bears the burden of the terrible knowledge of Badki's enormous sacrifices. Sabitri tries hard to ferret out a future for her family from the hard unyielding circumstances of her life.
Anupam Kher as Shivshankar Sahay
Shivshankar Sahay is a retired professor of Economics who has turned bitter and pessimistic after his pension was unfairly suspended by the college. Instead of fighting against the resulting poverty, he has accepted defeat, and hopes that the numerous lottery tickets he buys will land him a fortune that will bring back the glorious days of the past. He vents his frustration on his family, and particularly his elder daughter Badki, as he believes that things would have been different had she been born a son. He strongly opposes Badki's departure for the big city, predicting that she will fail to achieve anything. All this comes back to him when he discovers the enormity of the struggle and sacrifice that Badki had to go through.
Kunal Kapoor as Vivaan
Vivaan is a living embodiment of Indian youth today. Irreverent, iconoclastic, totally laidback, yet very good at what he does. He is rude, messy, and unfazed about his lack of manners. Full of wit and humor, he loves a laugh, wherever and by whichever means he can get it. Typical of the urban youth, he does not have a clue as to how the rest of India lives. So when Chutki joins his advertising agency, he dismisses her as a small town girl. But Chutki's spunk, spirit, and insights blow him away. She matches him barb for barb, retort for retort and he finds that he is head over heels in love. Vivaan and Chutki's chemistry is so potent; they set off sparks when they are in the same room. For her, he is willing to go to the end of the world, or on his knees.
Abhishek Bachchan as Rohan
Rohan is a highly educated and world-renowned attorney, sought after throughout the world for his expertise. However, inside this suave and smart young man resides a mischievous, impish spirit. When he encounters Badki this spirit takes over completely. Bowled over totally by Badki's innocence and guilelessness, he is intrigued by her homegrown wisdom and her deep faith too. This chance encounter leads to a bit of stolen time for both, when the child inside Badki makes her acquaintance with the imp inside Rohan. They forget the rest of the world as they revel in each other's company. What is happening between the two is like a flower just beginning to blossom. But the harsh realities of their lives intervene, and the magic is shattered. Rohan is determined to get to the crux of things, but will he be able to handle what he discovers?
Badki and Chutki live a fun-filled life in Banaras, playing pranks, sneaking off to see a forbidden mujra, and soaking up all the excitement that goes on the ghats of the Ganga. Badki is aware that the family is in dire straits, but she and her mother protect Chutki at all costs. When things get worse, Badki decides to go to Mumbai and seek a living for the family. Alone and unsupported in the midst of the urban jungle of Mumbai, Badki battles with dark forces, keeping her focus on her purpose to support her family and continue Chutki's education.
She deliberately morphs into someone else, leading a secret life full of murky compromises. When Chutki comes to Mumbai to work, things take a dramatic turn. Badki's life turns into a minefield, as she has to hide her secrets from Chutki. Chutki finds success at work, and love that delights her heart. Badki finds the magic of love, but lets it slip away before it can blossom, as she believes it's not in her destiny. She battles menace and blackmail alone, not letting these dark shadows fall on Chutki or her family.
But her dual life is revealed, and the two sisters are face to face, in a confrontation neither had expected. And when love beckons Badki again, the whole family is thrown in a tumultuous storm. Everything threatens to explode in their faces, destroying all of them.
Will Badki get the happy ending she deserves?
Or will the shadows of her past douse the lamps of hope?
Will her secrets ruin Chutki's happiness?
Can their parents face up to all this?