Sixteen year-old Nisha lives a double life. At home with her family she is the perfect Pakistani daughter, but when out with her friends, she is a normal Norwegian teenager. When her father catches her in bed with her boyfriend, Nisha’s two worlds brutally collide. To set an example, Nisha’s parents decide to kidnap her and place her with relatives in Pakistan. Here, in a country she has never been to before, Nisha is forced to adapt to her parents’ culture.
In 1991, the Government of India opened up the economy and unleashed the forces of globalization, forever changing the landscape of the country. A dozen years later, India was celebrating its emergence as a global economic super power. Set in 2004, in the midst of a nationwide ‘India Shining’ campaign, the film Mantra tells the intimate story of a family and its travails, and through it, the story of the New India. The protagonist of the film is Kapil Kapoor, the founder of an iconic Indian snack brand in the ‘License Raj’ old India. But today – in 2004 – he is fighting a losing battle against a multinational that has taken over the market. But it is not just his company that Kapil is desperately trying to save; it is also his own wife and children who are battling their own crises.
Inspector Joshi is a grieving father searching for his daughter Aruna, kidnapped years ago when she was six. In his despair, life converges with a recurring dream in which Joshi pursues a shadowy figure who leads him to ‘Paradise’, a night-club where teenage girls dance to a leering crowd. He is convinced he will find Aruna there and vows to bring her back to Leela, his broken wife.