The story of Gabbar Singh is the story of Gulab Singh.
The son of dalit blacksmith Hari Singh, in a village in UP.
The boy, mesmerized by the behroopiyas of the village (traveling folk artists who used to perform the ten avatars of Ravana) and always questioned how a puny blue painted man could in one strike bring down the gargantuan Ravana at the Ramleela maidan every year at Dussehra.
One year, when he was 8, he scoffed at the Thakur's son's bad aim (it was the Thakur's wish that his son be the one who would bring Ravana to his death), grabbed the flaming arrow from him and hit Ravana's forehead.
The effigy of Lankesh came crashing down and as the evening passed, the whiplashes grew tired on the boy's skin who refused to apologise before Thakur's son.
Ravan's embers died down, but Gulab's wrath instensified.
In an act if fury, when he attended school the next day and the kids taunted him, he stoned three of them. As punishment was made to stand in the sun without water in the field and when his mother came to him with water, his father asked her to get lost and decided to disown him.
In a fit of rage, after the hours passed, Gulab's friends christened himself as gabbar sher. (Babbar sher is the bigger tiger) and with his fellow outcast guys, stole from the school cashbox, in cold blood robbed a sickle from his father's sources and went on to murder Thakur's son and throw him into a well and ran away from the village.
The friends traveled with stolen money and sickles on a road trip and by the time he was 14 had proceeded to do odd-jobs at nautanki companies, where Gabbar befriends an alcoholic actor. Understands that one way to make money is to entertain people.
Also lusts for the nubile dancer and one night is unable to control himself when he sees her change and subsequently make love to the actor, whom he had professed his love for her.
But then, as the two of them escape with the money, he followed them up to finally kill the couple. Before the police could get a grip on his whereabouts, Gabbar had enlisted himself as an errand boy for the Indian army.
Traveling with the Rajputana regiment, he felt that at last under the tricolor there was no inequality. A thought that was shattered when a Brahmin cook would eat separately and some soldiers would bathe themselves if they saw Gabbar and his friends Sambha.
When Kaalicharan, a footsoldier was caught trying to steal army resources, he was whipped by the Colonel, and Gabbar intervened to literally thrash the daylights out of him.
Despite expulsion orders arriving, war car resulted in the amassment of troops and Gabbar took it upon himself to almost singlehandedly defeat a battalion. But when he heard the colonel announce to his superiors that he had done it, and admonish the rest, Gabbar in the heat of the moment kills the regimen with ammunition and goes on his way to rob the resources, and escapes with his team of 'bhagoras'.
In the subsequent years he sets up a nautanki team where a section of his brigand dress up as robbers and then Gabbar and some in army fatigues come and rescue the villagers from the daakus. As an act of gratitude, villagers agree to give them the resources, when in times of famine, or face the wrath of the bullet.
And on one such operation, his brigand is ambushed by Thakur, who Sambha informs was summoned by the Thakur of the village. Gabbar retreats only to come back and slaughter the entire village.
Inspector Baldev Singh, now adamant that he would bring him to justice sends informers to villages and they set a similar trap.
Knowing fully well that the trap has been set in the village, Gabbar attacks the ammunition store of the cops to arm themselves, but sadly the grain store is set alight by Hari Singh his estranged father, who Gabbar tries to buy out, but in vain.
A desperate Gabbar uses his father as shield to escape from the cops with ammunition. Hari Singh dies in the crossfire.
But Baldev Singh waits him out of his hole, and cuts out his ration supplies. A desperate Gabbar attacks. Only to be arrested by Thakur.
While Baldev rests in peace, knowing Gabbar is behind bars, he escapes.
Gabbar performs his father's last rites with alcohol. And upon the surrender plea tells Sambha that his Ravana will not rest till he has wiped out the Thakur clan.
Thakur's family massacre.