Madhur Bhandarkar is back, this time with Traffic Signal. After exploring theo world of politics, celebrities and corporate workers in his previous films like Satta, Page 3 and Corporate, Madhur focuses his camera on the happenings in and around a busy traffic signal, in one of Mumbai's busy thoroughfares. As usual, Madhur has the pulse of the common man, and cutting out the sheen and glamour, moves straight to the underbelly of existence.
The story of the film centres around Silsila (Kunal Khemu), an orphan who is the manager of a particular traffic signal. He presides over an assortment of human beings who earn their living at the signal. From pimps and prostitutes to sellers of flowers, clothes,and foodstuffs, from beggars to eucuchs---all report to him, and have to pay him a commission. In return, he sees that each one is taken care of, and free from the hassles of the police and the Municipality. Silsila is only a cog in the wheel, and he too has to report to Gafoor Bhai. The entire Mumbai operation is being managed by a don (Sudhir Mishra).
At the traffic signal, you have the physically handicapped painter, boys who sell newspapers, girls who sell flowers, policemen who look the other way, and young boys ogling at the girls passing by in cars. At night, the same signal becomes a pick up place for prostitutes and a haven for drug addicts. One such prostitute is Konkana Sen Sharma, who is in live with Dominic (Ranvir Shorey), a drug addict and cheater.
Life seems to be going on reasonably well for the signal inhabitants. Silsila falls in love with a Gujrathi cloth seller (Nitu Chandra).But an unscrupulous builder, aided by the local MLA wants to build a flyover at the signal. Opposing this is the uncorrupt chief engineer of the Government Shailesh Jha. With no other recourse, the builder, with his Dubai and underworld connections, gets the engineer murdered at the signal, unconsciously aided by Silsila and his gang.
Silsila has severe guilt pangs, the signal is demolished to make way for the flyover, and Silsila decides to fight the builder-politician-underworld nexus, knowing fully well that there will be a heavy price to pay, for the same.