Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Writer: Vishal Bhardwaj
Stars: Arshad Warsi as Razzaq Hussain alias Babban
Naseeruddin Shah as Ifthekhar alias Khalujan
Madhuri Dixit as Begum Para
Huma Qureshi as Muniya
Vijay Raaz as Jaan Mohammad
Bhuvan Arora as Young Khalu
Manoj Pahwa as Nawab Italwi
Ravi Gossain as Liyaakat ali
Salman Shahid as Mushtak Bhai
John Vijay as Police Officer
Khaalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and his nephew Babban (Arshad Warsi), who are partners in crime, pose as a Nawab and his attendant, and manage to run away with a prized necklace from a jewellery shop. During the police chase, they get separated; Babban escapes, Khalujaan is injured, and the necklace seemingly lost. Babban goes to meet his boss Mushtaq Bhai (Salman Shahid), who disbelieves him, accuses him of double-crossing his boss in cahoots with his uncle Khaalujaan, gives him a death sentence, and orders him to dig his own grave. Babban duly begins to dig a grave under supervision, but manages to escape, with the promise that he will bring back both the necklace and Khaalujaan.
Months later, Babban comes across Khalujaan, who is posing as a Nawab and attending a poetry contest. It is a mushaira (gathering of poets) organised by Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit), the widowed Begum of Majidabad, supposedly in compliance with the wishes of her deceased husband. The winner of the poetry contest will no only win the widowed Begum as his bride, and also become the Nawab of Majidabad.
Babban confronts Khalujaan on the opening night of the contest, and tries to get him to return with him. However, Babban himself delays departure after falling in love at first sight with Muniya (Huma Qureshi), Begum Para’s beautiful maid and constant companion. Meanwhile, Khalujaan has his task cut out. He needs to fool the gathering into accepting him as an aristocrat of high lineage, win the poetry contest if possible, and seduce the Begum whether or not that happens. One of the other contestants is a local politician and gangster named Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz), who is holding the poet Nawab Italwi (Manoj Pahwa) in captivity, forcing him to write poetry for Jaan to recite at the contest. The contest proceeds; while Khalujaan has his heart set on Begum Para herself, Babban is smitten with Muniya. Khalujaan tries to impress the Begum by gifting her the prized necklace which he had stolen earlier, but on the final day, Begum declares Jaan Mohammed to be the victor. She declares that she will marry Jaan Mohammad and that he will become the new Nawab of Majidabad.
Since the necklace has clearly failed to move the Begum, Khaalujaan decides to see if a gun will serve the purpose better. However, even as he approaches the Begum brandishing his chosen instrument of persuasion, he finds the dowager being hustled away at gunpoint by a masked man. Khalujaan chases them and blocks their way only to discover that the masked man is none other than his nephew Babban. It turns out that the Begum had plotted her own kidnapping in order to extort money from the nawab-elect (Jaan Mohammad). More twists are then revealed: the Begum was nothing but a dancing-girl (courtesan) who had seduced a middle-aged nawab and married him, only to find that the nawab was actually a pauper who supported his lavish way of life by selling his inherited properties and jewels. He also neglected his wife, who (it is very strongly suggested) developed a relationship of intimacy with a sympathetic maid-servant, Muniya.
By the time the nawab died of good living, he had become completely bankrupt and even his palace had been mortgaged to the money-lenders. After his death, the penniless Begum had been helped financially and courted actively by Jaan Mohammad, who was besotted with her. He also wanted the title and status of being the “Nawab of Majidabad.” If a mere dancing-girl could marry an aging nawab and swan around being feted and fawned over as Begum of Majidabad, then Jaan Mohammad, of a similar social background, could likewise climb into the same status by marrying the same girl, now a dowager. The Begum was appalled by this idea. Jaan Mohammad is a man of low birth and uncultured mannerisms, a former street-thug turned politician, with an entourage of sycophantic hoodlums. The idea of marrying such a man was repellent to the Begum, who was anyway in love with her maid-servant. Yet, Jaan Mohammad’s debt and his persistence leave the Begum with no choice but to announce a competition for her suitors, as a tactic to delay responding to Jaan’s advances.
Thus, the mushiara was conceived of an elaborate hoax: the late Nawab had never wanted that his widow should marry someone else, much less that the winner should be recognized as “Nawab of Majidabad.” It was the Begum’s own idea, the purpose being to snare a rich man and marry him. The Begum did not want to marry Jaan Mohammad, but she wanted his money, therefore she was staging a kidnapping in order to receive a ransom from Jaan Mohammad. She has employed Babban to act as her kidnapper and extort a hefty ransom from Jaan Mohammad, who was expected to pay up because otherwise he would never fulfill his dream of becoming a Nawab.
Babban duly phones Jaan Mohammed (who is by now aware of the Begum’s cunning plan) to bring a ransom of Rs. 10 crore (100 million rupees, about $2 million in 2014) in cash to the railway station. All four of them (Begum, maid, and the uncle-nephew duo) reach the railway station to collect the money, but find that they are surrounded by Jaan Mohammad’s goons. To their good fortune, Nawab Italwi arrives with a police force and cross-firing ensues. Begum and Muniya escape from the situation, leaving Babban and Khalujaan behind to be arrested.
Two months later, the uncle-nephew duo get bail and, as they leave the jail, they are given a letter from Begum and Muniya. It is a cheeky letter of thanks and goodbye from the women, informing the men that they have sold the priceless necklace and used the proceeds to buy a house and settle down in a faraway town whose name they withhold. Uncle and nephew are now exactly at the same situation where they were at the start of all these shenanigans—the movie ends with the duo once again surrounded by Mushtaq Bhai and his gang.