Rajan (Mammotty) is a village man who loves his cousin Ammukutty (Seema) but his stubborn father Madhavan (Balan Nair) forces him to marry Nalini (Unni Mary). Nalini is an ambitious woman who wants to study further and achieve an educated status. Rajan on the other hand believes in simple living. They have come to a indifferent attitude to their marriage and live separate lives under one roof.
Years later when Rajan's father is bed ridden,the only person who makes time to look after him is Ammukutty. Inspite of his children only she is available and does so selflessly and without past grudges. In the midst of the ill father,property disputes and jealousies are shown as the norm of a middle class Malayali family. The old love of the two people and happier times are shown in glimpses.
I felt this movie also had a unique feature in Mohanlal's portrayal as a friend of Rajan. Not a friend who bird-watches with him or plans revenge plots. A character who expresses his love for a friend and of life. A friend who later chides him on leaving Ammukutty and questions on his morality.
Overall the movie is a drama which shows the state of thinking in a family. As it is with most, the husband expects a wife to perform and live in a certain way. Whether she is a good wife or a good mother is without meaning, if she is too ambitious. That she should be sacrificing and selfless is a norm to be accepted by most women is the message of the movie. How acceptable is the story in today's changing world maybe debatable. Nevertheless, Aalkkoottathil Thaniye was one of the few movies of that time where a woman protagonist is essayed in a strong, independent way rather than a crying, hollering, helpless waif.