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In 1984, Indian Airlines Flight 691 (resembling Indian Airlines Flight 421) is hijacked, the seventh such hijacking in India in five years, with all the previous ones ending in acquiescence to the hijackers’ demands that other terrorists be freed and money be delivered. During her briefing, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, frustrated at the lack of action taken on the matter, decides to allow a RAW agent code-named “Bell Bottom” to handle the case. As a “mere” clerk, he is already viewed with consternation by the other officials, and his deduction that the alleged masterminds, a Khalistan separatist group named “Azaadi Dal” (lit.‚ÄČ’Liberation Organisation’), are merely a front for Pakistan’s ISI are rebuffed by them due to improving Indo-Pakistani relations. After the plane lands in Amritsar when he predicted it would land in Lahore, he is dismissed. However, his supervisor points out that he is an expert on hijackings and is motivated by personal experience.

In 1979, polymath Anshul Malhotra lives with his mother Raavi, an asthmatic who constantly visits his brother in London, and his wife Radhika. Her flight is hijacked by terrorists, but then-PM Morarji Desai and Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq negotiate and fulfill the hijackers demands in exchange for the hostages’ release. However, Raavi dies, reportedly due to natural causes. Soon after, though, Anshul is abducted by RAW, who reveal that one of the hijackers, Daljeet “Doddy” Singh, had purposely withheld her inhaler, pusher her into the galley and thrown heavy blankets on her, increasing her suffering as she died. Anshul is given the offer to join RAW; he accepts and takes on the code-name Bell Bottom, with his cover to his wife being that he is an embassy officer. After his training, which showcases his extraordinary memory and improves his previously subpar physical skills, he is assigned to the hijacking desk. In 1983, he finds one of the hijackers while visiting his brother in London and tracks them; he raids their house with other RAW agents and captures three of them but the fourth, Doddy Singh, escapes.


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