Choker Bali is based on the famous Bengali novel by Rabindranath Tagore. The early 1900's forms the backdrop for this period drama set in Bengal.
Mahendra (Prosenjit), is a spoilt young man with a feminine character. He is the pride and despair of his widowed mother Rajlakshmi (Lily Chakraborty). Aishwarya Rai as Binodini during her wedding ceremony Mahendra's friend, Behari (Tota Roychowdhury), is also treated like a son by Rajlakshmi. Both men are studying to become doctors.
Like all concerned parents, Rajlakshmi wants to see her son happily married. She also worries about Behari. So Rajlakshmi decides to match make Mahendra with Binodini (Aishwarya Rai), a girl who also comes from the same village as hers. Just by seeing her photograph, Mahendra refuses Binodini's proposal. Bihari also agrees with this decision.
So another suitor is found for Binodini, whom she eventually marries. But within a year, she becomes a widow. Binodini after her husband's death Meanwhile, Mahendra agrees to settle down with Ashalata (Raima Sen), a girl originally engaged to Behari. Like a typical mother in law, Rajlakshmi is not pleased with her son's marriage. She continuously interferes in his marital affairs. Needing some time to herself, Ashalata leaves her husband and seeks refuge at her parent's place. Its here, that she meets Binodini who eventually accompanies her back to her husband's house in Calcutta. As for Binodini, she finally gets to meet the two men whom she might have married.
Already aware of her husband's loss, Binodini envies Ashalata married life. So by manipulating Ashalata, she gets closer to the men. As for Ashalata, she is only too happy to have someone she could confide in. She gives Binodini a nickname, Chokher Bali, meaning sand in the eye. Aishwarya Rai as Binodini.
Soon, Binodini embarks on an affair with Mahendra but this is short lived when Ashalata discovers the truth. Shocked by such a revelation, Ashalata decides to drown her sorrow in the holy city of Benares. Rajlakshmi, wise to Binodini's intrigues, insults her and forces her to leave the house. Nowhere to go, Binodini decides to spend the rest of her life in Banares. Mahendra escorts her to the holy city. But upon their arrival, she discovers Ashalata is pregnant. This shocks her. What happens from here on forms a nail biting climax of this film which has won many prestigious awards around the globe.
The film is a visual treat to the eyes despite the fact that it is mostly shot indoors. Director Rituparno Ghosh, has painstakingly showcased every minute detail which showcases Bengal in the 1900's.