A dam in the village of Solaiyur, which is the lifeline of that village is under assessment for structural integrity by the Public Works Department. The dam inspector (Ponvannan) assesses that the dam is still strong 75 years after it was built. Later that evening, he is hacked to death by the corrupt local MP Nagabhushan (Jagapathi Babu), who wants the dam destroyed for his own benefit. The dying dam inspector throws a pen drive containing details about the proposed plan to destroy the dam into an abandoned Shiva temple near the dam and warns the village head Karunakara (K. Viswanath) that the temple has to be opened as soon as possible, after which he passes away. Karunakara and the villagers are of the opinion that the temple can only be opened by the descendant of Raja Lingeswaran (Rajnikanth), who built the dam as well as the Shiva temple. Lakshmi (Anushka Shetty), the granddaughter of Karunakara and a television journalist, goes on a search to find the Raja’s descendant. She soon manages to find the descendant, whose name is Lingeswaran aka Lingaa (Rajnikanth). Lingaa is the grandson of Raja Lingeswaran, but is a petty thief with his family having now fallen on hard times. He holds a grudge against his grandfather, feeling that he had brought down his family into poverty by squandering all his wealth and hence refuses to go with Lakshmi to Solaiyur. However, Lakshmi implicates Lingaa in a robbery, as a result of which the police pursue Lingaa. Lingaa is forced to accept Lakshmi’s invitation to avoid getting caught and travels with her to Solaiyur.
At Solaiyur, Lingaa finds out that the Lingam installed at the Shiva temple is made of Maragatham stone (Emerald), which is extremely valuable, so at midnight, he enters the Shiva temple with the intention to steal the Lingam. But he is noticed by one of the dam’s security guards named Riazuddin Rony from Noakhali, who immediately alerts all the villagers including Lakshmi, Karunakara and Nagabhushan, to the temple courtyard. Aware of the villagers’ presence, Lingaa pretends to perform pooja to the Lingam. This fools the villagers, who find it auspicious that the grandson of Raja Lingeswaran is performing pooja to the Shiva Lingam installed at the temple built by the Raja at on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri. Karunakara then tells everyone present, including Lingaa, the story of Raja Lingeswaran.