American Desi is the first feature film to tell the story of Indian-American college students growing up in the United States trying to balance their traditional roots with their modern Western upbringing. This romantic comedy centers around Krishna Reddy, an Indian by heritage but born and raised in America. Kris (as he likes to be called) has always dreamt of the day that he would leave home for college and escape the sights, sounds, smells, and traditions of his culture in order to be the all-American guy he has always wanted to be.
That day has finally come, and Kris speeds off to college with a newfound freedom. Those hopes of freedom are soon dashed as he arrives on campus and discovers that all three of his roommates are desis! They include Jagjit Singh, an artist at heart who is forced to study engineering to please his strict father; Salim Ali Khan, an old-fashioned lad who believes that Indian girls growing up in America are corrupt with Western ideals; and Ajay Pandya, the afrocentric, Hindu homeboy.
On campus, Kris meets and falls for Nina who he discovers is also Indian. For a young man who has never considered dating a young woman of Indian descent, Kris must now struggle to catch the attention of Nina, who unlike himself, has managed to balance her Indian and American identities. Adding conflict to the situation is the devious Rakesh Patel who also has an eye for Nina but is well-versed in Indian songs, movies, religion, and culture making Kris look like a guy with no chance of winning the girl.
Through living with his roommates, and meeting the captivating Nina, Kris learns that the Indian culture he has always turned his back on is actually wonderful, unique, and something to be proud of. The students get involved in many situations throughout the film which are common to the lives of Indian-American college students on today's multicultural campuses. They join the college's Indian student organization, attend a Bhangra party showcasing a wild musical mix of Eastern beats with Western pop, and celebrate their Eastern heritage by organizing a traditional garba at Navratri time with colorful costumes and joyous dancing. Will Kris win the affections of Nina, or will his cultural confusion cause him to lose the girl of his dreams?