Bengali immigrant Sushila Sen lives in London with her son Manek, who is musically gifted. Manek studies the piano with Madame Sousatzka, who is a Russian-American immigrant. Madame Sousatzka, while highly talented, never succeeded as a pianist and thus lives through her students, particularly talented ones such as Manek. Manek is soon forced to choose between Madame Sousatzka and his mother who both compete for his attention.
This film features examples of:
- Teacher/Student Romance: A bit one-sided, but implied that Mme. Sousatzka is in love with Manek (and constantly implied that she was also in love with her former student) The latter speaks highly of her every time we see him (as well as always inquiring about her), and it seems he has returned her feelings at some point before becoming renowned. The film even ends with him talking to a family heading to see Mme. S and fervently giving her the utmost praises.