A young girl called Lila wants to become a firework-maker, like her father Lalchand. Despite her talents, Lalchand believes this is an unsuitable job for girls. Lila disagrees, and journeys to get Royal Sulphur from Razvani the Fire-Fiend at Mount Merapi, as all aspirant firework-makers must do.
The quest is nearly unsuccessful, as she does not have protection from the Fire-Fiend's flames or the Three Gifts to present to Razvani. However, her friends Hamlet, a talking white elephant, and Chulak, Hamlet's caretaker, manage to deliver the water of the Goddess of the Emerald Lake that will protect her. To Lila's surprise, Razvani recognizes her as a firework maker who has brought the Three Gifts, despite Lila being unaware of what the Three Gifts are.
Upon her return home, she learns that Lalchand has been imprisoned for the disappearance of Hamlet. To save his life, Lila and Lalchand must win the upcoming competition for the Firework Festival against other extremely talented firework makers. Upon their victory, Lalchand explains to his daughter that she does possess the Three Gifts: rather than tangible objects, they are talent, perseverance, and luck, all of which she has. She has talent, having worked with her father at firework-making for many years; courage and perseverance, for having undertaken the journey; and good fortune, which lies in having loyal friends, Chulak and Hamlet.
A thousand miles ago, in a country east of the jungle and south of the mountains, there lived a Firework-Maker called Lalchand and his daughter Lila.
Lila wanted to be a Firework-Maker but her father tells her it’s no job for a girl and he will never tell her how. ‘… firework-making’s, Not a career I had in mind, For my beauteous daughter’
Lila has a friend named Chulak, who looks after the King’s treasured White Elephant, Hamlet. When Chulak sees Lila so upset he sets off to find out her father’s secrets for her.
All apprentice Firework-Makers are tested to see whether they have the Three Gifts and must travel to the Grotto of Razvani, the Fire-Fiend, in the heart of a volcano, and bring back the Royal Sulphur.
[Lalchand] It’s a man’s work, a man’s! A drop of the magical Royal Sulphur, Would blow your mind!
Lila immediately runs away on her adventure, which takes her into the jungle.
She’s nervous and frightened as...
Monkeys jump out, ‘o o o oa a a a e e e’
and tigers ROAR!
She even gets abducted by pirates!
When her father realises Lila has gone he is furious with Chulak as she doesn’t know the rest of the secret – no one can go into the Fire-Fiend’s Grotto without protection. She needs the Enchanted Water. Chulak and Hamlet set off in search of it.
[Chulak] ‘The Enchanted Water?’
[Lalchand] ‘But without it the Fire-Fiend, Will turn you to ashes, He’ll burn you alive’
She struggles on towards the mountain and finally finds the Grotto of the Fire-Fiend, Razvani. Firey light burns brighter and flames lick the ground. Out of the flames leaps Razvani himself and a procession of fire ghosts.
With the help of her friends, Chulak and Hamlet. They appear just in time to give Lila the Enchanted Water so she can enter the flames and retrieve the Royal Sulphur.
But when Lila reaches the heart of the fire she discovers the Royal Sulphur doesn’t exist – it was an illusion.
[Razvani] ‘You’re in the heart of the fire! Do you fry? Do you burn? There’s nothing at all to learn! It’s illusion!’
It goes from bad to worse...
They escape down the mountain on Hamlet and finally after hours of travelling they reach the city. Hamlet tells Lila the most terrible news - her father has been put into prison by the King and is going to be executed! The King believes Lalchand helped Hamlet escape.
Lila and Lalchand plead with the King and finally strike a bargain – if they win the World Firework Competition against the greatest firework-makers in the land, Lalchand will go free.
Lila forgets all about the Royal Sulphur and the Three Gifts and they get straight to work. Sparks dance, gunpowder sizzles and fireworks explode: finally they are ready.
Lila’s display lights up the sky and when the applause erupts Lila knows they are the winners and her father is safe.
As they celebrate, Lalchand tells Lila that she is a true Firework-Maker and that she does have the three gifts.