Based on the Booker Prize-nominated novel by Anita Desai, In Custody - the debut of Ismail Merchant as a director - is a wry, lyrical, comic drama about contemporary Indian culture, society and domestic life. The central themes are first the threatened extinction of the Urdu language - much prized for its beauty, sophistication and its great literary tradition - and second the story of two men pursuing their ideals against great odds. Nur is considered the greatest living Urdu poet, Deven hopes to rekindle interest in the language by recording Nur reciting his magical verse. But multiple problems strew Deven's path, and the greatest of these are the vastly bloated Nur, his love of drink, and his two shrewish wives. Little does Deven realise the monstrousness of the task he has set himself, nor how his 'cultural odyssey' will follow a deeply ludicrous path and have an unexpected and moving conclusion.