The film was hugely appreciated by critics because of its effective blend of slapstick comedy and dark social satire, an unconventional ending and Kamal Haasan's outstanding performance. The plot of the film revolves around an unemployed youth whose fortunes change as he comes across a drunken millionaire. He kidnaps the rich man and confines him in his house and assumes his identity to enjoy the comforts of a luxury hotel. He also falls in love with the magician's daughter.
The unconventional ending shows Kamal Hassan confessing everything about himself to the magician's daughter who still likes him. But the last scene shows the unnamed youth in search of job once more.
The innovative style of story telling in the film had made Pushpak one of the most memorable films in Indian cinema. Apart from Kamal Hassan the film also starred Amala, Tinnu Anand, Sameer Khakhar, Farida Jalal, Prathap K. Pothan, K.S. Ramesh and others.