Paheli revolves around the story of Lachchi (Rani Mukherji) who gets married to an unromantic man (Shahrukh Khan), only interested in making money. After her marriage, when Lachchi is travelling to her husband's home, they halt at a destination for refreshments. There, a ghost, sees the beautiful bride and falls madly in love with her.
On the wedding night itself, the husband leaves the home for five long years on account of his business. The ghost, in his absence, takes on her husband's appearance and enters her life.
The ghost gives her all the love which her husband was incapable of giving her, and the couple are madly in love with each other.
A few years later, when the husband returns home, the villagers and relatives are bewildered to find identical looking men, who both claim to be Lachchi's husband.
How is this situation resolved? That is the real Paheli, the riddle.