Police Inspector Ghote lives a middle-class life in Bombay along with his wife, Pratima. He has been employed with the Bombay Police for many years. He is assigned to investigate the deadly assault on a Parsi man named Perfect, who is the Secretary of Lala Heera Lal, a wealthy man with underworld links. Inspector Ghote commences his investigation and is displeased when his superiors ask him to work with a Swedish Forensic Expert by the name of Axel Svennson.
Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority".
Jesus (Willem Dafoe), a humble Judean carpenter beginning to see that he is the son of God, is drawn into revolutionary action against the Roman occupiers by Judas (Harvey Keitel) -- despite his protestations that love, not violence, is the path to salvation.