Born and raised in New Jersey, Krishnagopal Reddy (Deep Katdare) is the typical boy next door: handsome, athletic, and adventuresome. The only son of immigrant Indian parents, he has adopted the American ideal of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, as his credo. He has long resisted the Indian traditions and values that his parents have tried to enshrine in their home. Fueled by the need to fit in with his peers, Krishnagopal has shortened his birth name to the more palatable 'Kris' while striving to become the best 'American' he can.
Kris' home is infused with what he finds as embarrassing traditions. The smells, sounds and tastes continually remind Kris of his Indian heritage. His over-attentive mother with her religious fervor constantly smothers him. His father, a successful accountant, cannot detach himself from the cultural and political scene in India despite a comfortable life in America. Kris cannot help but feel alienated from his family. He is what a knowing ex-patriate desi (literally "one from our land") would call an American Born Confused Desi.
His dream has always been to leave home so he can finally live his own life. Accepted into the engineering program at the local State University, Kris eagerly departs for college in the hopes of finally living a normal 'American' life.
During a college party, Kris falls for a beautiful Indian girl named Nina Shah (Purva Bedi). As Kris vies for the affection of Nina, he is opposed by the smooth-talking, but slimy Rakesh (Anil Kumar) who wants to thwart Kris' attempts at happiness.
In his quest for the holy female, Kris is aided by his oddball assortment of roommates. Despite their good-natured attempt to make Kris feel welcome, he realizes that his fondest dreams have become his worst nightmare. Kris finds himself ducking corners to avoid his colorful ensemble of roommates. His desperate attempts to change his room are to no avail. These 'room-partners' include:
- Jagjit Singh (Ronobir Lahiri), an outgoing, artistically-oppressed Sikh
- Salim Ali Khan (Rizwan Manji), a conservative traditional Muslim
- Ajay Pandya (Kal Penn), an Afro-centric Hindu homeboy.
What follows is the story of a young man who learns about the intricacies of friendship and the frailty of the ties that bind us to ourselves. It is the story of a young man who falls in love and finds his destiny in the heart of a woman.
This is the story of one who is lost but is found again. It is the paradoxical result of Indian immigrants who see their children washed up on the shores of cultural confusion, they who came to this country to create a better life for their family. This is the story of second-generation Indians in America who have inherited the immigrant experience from their parents.
This is the yet to be told story of the American Desi!