Seventeen-year-old Kishan, a good boy from a village in the Himalayas, helps his grandma and mother, listens to his father and earns some extra money working in a restaurant for tourists. But he feels the call of the big, wide world. He knows that moving to the big city is not without risks from the stories of prison and abuse he hears from returning friends. Kishan’s family try to talk him out of his plans. His father's carpentry workshop offers a secure, albeit predictable, life.
Bitter Chestnut is an intimate, authentic coming-of-age story, thanks largely to working with local, non-professional actors. At the same time, the film depicts migration to the cities – an existential threat to traditional village communities. Despite the call of adventure, Kishan is still deeply rooted in his village, and this becomes ever clearer as the seasons slide by almost unnoticed. His life is like the fruit of the bitter chestnut tree from the title; according to tradition, it has to be washed for seven days in succession before being edible.