The film, set in the late 1990's among the fishing communities around Kundapura, tells the story of a Muslim midwife Gulabi (Umashree) who has a passion for cinema. Her lonely life takes a turn when a family gifts her a colour TV. Slowly, the village folks start gathering at Gulabi's house, but a few abstain since she is a Muslim. Soon, the village is engulfed in communal tension, forcing Gulabi to leave. Gulabi's TV is left behind and the film ends with two illiterate elderly women, who had hitherto refused to enter Gulabi's house, going in there to watch it.
Ever since its premier at the Ocean's, Gulabi Talkies has been screened at many national and international film festivals.