Yousuf Saeed

Some Documentary Films and Videos
(in roughly chronological order):

Turning PointThe Gene Story, 1989-90: a student film about the developments in genetic engineering. Produced with Aradhana Kohli Kapur at Jamia's Mass Communication Research Centre. 25 mins.

Medicine's New Visions, 1990: Series of 3 documentary films on medical imaging devices such as CT-scan, MRI etc. for UGC. (Telecast on Doordarshan)

Turning Point, 1991-1994: Co-directed and edited about 45 episodes of this Science series for Doordarshan TV channel (via Times Television) See a report.

Boojh Sakay To Boojh, 1997: A 4 part documentary series on the contemporary image of 14-century poet Amir Khusrau. (With Iffat Fatima) 4x30 min.

Inside Ladakh, 1997: (with Iffat Fatima) A series of 5 documentary films that study the concept of change in 5 ethnic regions of Ladakh. 5x30 min. Doordarshan. Featured at MIFF 1998, Mumbai.

Muharram, 1998: A short film that portrays the colourful and highly passionate observance of Muharram in north India’s Amroha town. 15 mins. Participated in MIFF 2000, Mumbai.

BasantBasant, 1997: A short film about how a primarily Hindu festival of spring called Basant is celebrated by some Muslims in North India. 12 mins. Screened at Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF'98), and the 6th International Short Film Festival, Dhaka (Bangladesh) 1999. Watch on Youtube. Also see this related write-up on

Sufi Sama, 1998: Short film about the development of qawwali and Sufi music in India and its relation with Indian classical music. 14 mins.

Ghalib, 1998: A short biographical documentary of Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib using his letters and poetry. 15 mins.

Apni Masti: An audio CD featuring songs in the voice of Hamsar Hayat and his qawwal team. Originally released in 2002 under Ektara India, but now marketed by Navras Records.

EFBS – A Safer Pest Control, 2004. A training film for farmers on reducing the use of harmful chemical pesticides while growing vegetables such as eggplant. Dubbed in 5 Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati and Khasi. DV/Betacam, AVRDC-Taiwan.

Yashpal – A Life in Science, 2004: A biographical film about India’s senior scientist Prof.Yashpal, exploring over half a century of his career in particle physics, satellite communication, and science education. 40 mins, UGC.

Kesar Saga: Co-camerawork and production for this documentary directed by Iffat Fatima, about the life of the folk tale Kesar Saga in the region of Ladakh. See on youtube: part 1, 2, & 3.

Agriculture and the Small Farmer in India: A Bollywood Perspective: 23 mins, a video presentation exploring the developments in Indian agriculture and economy as depicted in Hindi cinema over the years. Produced by Bibek Debroy and Amirullah Khan. Watch this on youtube.

Jannat Ki Rail (The Train to Heaven), 2006: A 7-minutes experimental music video celebrating the spirit of India's popular Islam, illustrated by popular devotional art and music. Featured at many film fests. See this report: "Positive negatives" in The Hindu.

Khayal DarpanKhayal Darpan (A Mirror of Imagination), 2006: A feature-length film exploring the development of classical music in Pakistan post-1947, featuring many famous Khayal singers of Pakistan. 100 mins. Screened at Hong Kong Int. Film Festival 2007, Film South Asia Kathmandu 2007, Lyon Asian Film Fest 2007, and many academic venues such as Univ. of Austin, Texas, Concordia Univ., Canada, and other locations. Also a part of Remembering Partition Festival in Mumbai (a report). Reference to the film.

Aqeedat Ke Rang, 2008 (Colours of Devotion): A video compilation of various performative traditions of Indian Muslims from different regions, 55 mins, IGNCA.

A Dry Run, 2009: A compilation of clips from popular Hindi cinema depicting the theme of water in India, telling the story of water and livelihood. 26 mins.

Tasveer-e Aqeedat, 2010: A short video on the popular visual culture around the Sufi shrine of Nizamuddin in New Delhi. 15 mins. Cluster of Excellence, Heidelberg University, Germany. Watch on

Qasba Sanskriti: Bilgram, Amroha, 2011: Two films documenting the ethnographic diversity and cultural traditions of two towns in north India. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. The Amroha film participated in Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) 2012. Purchase the DVD of Amroha and Bilgram film.

Taj MahalThe Making of the Taj, 2013: Short film about the making of the world-famous Mughal monument in Agra (produced for Sahapedia/ Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi), 29 mins. Watch on Youtube.

Khusrau Darya Prem Ka, 2014-15: A film about poet Amir Khusrau in a dramatic storytelling style. Produced for Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Watch here.

Indo Persian Culture - Meetings at the Crossroads, 2015 (short video)

Hindu religious books in Urdu - a forgotten legacy, 2016 (short video)

Cinema Etihas: Director Bimal Roy (audio interview with Joy Roy), 2016.

Dilli - Yadon ki Mehfil, 2014-17: An oral history-based film on the past culture of Dilli or Shahjahanabad. This 53-mins film is part of a larger project called Indo-Muslim Heritage of Delhi comprising a series of 20 interviews. Urdu scholar Shamim Hanafi talks to various scholars and senior citizens of Delhi, such as Sharif H.Qasmi, Chandar Shekhar, Anis Azmi, Siddiqur Rahman Kidwai, Iqbal Ahmed Khan, S.Yaqub Quraishi, and Sulaiman Dehlvi etc. about the literary and cultural heritage of old Delhi. Produced for Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.

Campus Rising, 2017: A documentation of the struggle of students reclaiming freedom and justice in India's universities in 2016-17. The film covers 6-7 important universities including JNU, BHU, HCU and Delhi University, among others. 73 mins, 2017. Featured in many film festivals such as FSA Kathmandu 2017, Cinema of Resistance 2017, MIFF 2018 etc. See essay and film on Dastavezi journal.

Sétu and Sabrina, 2017 - an educational video for learning French language. This educational video accompanies the French learning book series 'Le Nouvel Horizons' published by Goyal Publishers.

Nitin Desai: The Global Advocate for Sustainable Development (Oct 2018), Part 1 and 2

Weaving Magic - The Story of Kashmiri Shawl and its Rafugars2019-20: A film about Aditi Desai, a scholar and collector of Kashmiri shawls.

The Ganita Story, 2018: A documentary exploring the history of mathematics in India and the world, especially focusing on the parallel developments in the discovery of numbers, number system, zero, Pythagoras theorem and the proof system in Maths. (Nominated at the National Science Film Festival, Mohali/Chandigarh, 2019, and given the (1) Special Jury Award and (2) Special Award for Technical Excellence - Research).

Corona and Indian media's defaming of Muslims, April 29, 2020 (English and Hindi versions)

A Little Box of Lights, 2021- a documentary film about Gautam Hemmady, a collector and historian of matchbox labels. Also see the Google Arts and Culture exhibit that features this collection.

Dastarkhwan-e Rampur (A Feast in Rampur), 2022-23: A film tracing the cultural history of north India’s Rampur town through its food and culinary heritage. 60 mins. Watch its trailer here.

Short videos on ektara magazine.Visit the Ektara youtube channel.

Photos, art archive