On the heels of their arranged marriage, Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) jet off from sweltering Calcutta to a wintry New York where they begin their new life together. Virtual strangers to one another and with Ashima now living in a new and very strange land, their relationship quickly takes a turn when Ashima gives birth to a son. Under pressure to name him quickly, Ashoke settles on Gogol, after the famous Russian author – a name that serves as a link to a secret past and, Ashoke hopes, a better future. But life isn’t as easy for Gogol as his parents might wish. As a first-generation American teenager, Gogol (Kal Penn) must learn to tread a razor-thin line between his Bengali roots and his American birthright in the search for his own identity. As Gogol attempts to forge his destiny – rejecting his given name, dating a rich American girl (Jacinda Barrett), heading to study architecture at Yale – his parents cling to their Bengali traditions. But their paths keep crossing with both comic and painfully revelatory consequences . . . until Gogol begins to see the links between the world his parents left behind and the new world that lies in front of him.