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Kishanlal (Shah Rukh Khan) is married to Lachchi (Rani Mukherji)in a village of Rajasthan. Kishanlal, like his father, is only interested in making money and, in deference to his father's wishes; he leaves his home and village on the day after his wedding, to earn money. He is to return only after five years and this devastates Lachhi. A ghost is in love with Lachhi and, taking advantage of Kishanlal's absence, he takes on the appearance of Kishanlal and enters her life. The ghost, who can be seen by people after assuming Kishanlal's appearance, is friendly and noblehearted and he tells the truth about himself to Lachhi. Lachhi, nevertheless, accepts him as her husband and the two stay like man and wife. Except for Lachhi, everyone else thinks that the ghost is actually Kishanlal. Relatives of Kishanlal and the villagers are all bewildered when the real Kishanlal comes back to the village after five years to claim his love and wife. Based on a folk tale, Paheli enchants and entertains in equal measures.