Salaam Bombay is a resolute tale of Krishna, a boy thrown out of his house after burning his brother`s bike and later ditched by the traveling circus he joins. In anxiety, he uses up all the money he had for purchasing one way ticket to Bombay. In Bombay, Krishna joins a small community of destitute kids and lands himself with a tea delivering job. He comes to be known as Chaipau.
Krishna desperately wants to save five hundred bucks to get back into his mothers good books. Chillum, a street smart guy, is a drug dealer for local lynchpin, Baba who takes Krishna under his wing. The crafty Baba has a keep, Rekha, a prostitute. She has a young daughter who has affinity towards Krishna, but he feels for the sweet sixteen year old who was forcefully pulled into prostitution. Ultimately Baba fires Chillum while Krishna finds it very difficult to sustain his drug habits.