Yousuf Saeed

Dastarkhwan-e Rampur
Watch film here A Feast in Rampur

A documentary film by
Yousuf Saeed

Duration: 60 mins
Language: English and Hindi with English subtitles
Year: 2022-23

A film tracing the cultural history of north India’s Rampur town through its food and culinary heritage.

Among India’s wide variety of regional cuisines, the former princely state of Rampur in north India’s Uttar Pradesh is known for its rich traditional foods, mostly perfected under the patronage of its erstwhile nawabs or royalty. Through this documentary film we not only get to taste the delicacies that are still prepared in Rampur but also look for recipes and ingredients that have been forgotten, or could be revived. Produced under the project 'Forgotten Food: Culinary Memory, Local Heritage and Lost Agricultural Varieties in India’ supported by the University of Sheffield, UK, the film talks to not only the food historians like Tarana Khan and the members of Rampur’s nawabi family, but also the traditional khansamas or chefs of Rampur who prepare various delicious dishes for the camera. Some of the foods unique to Rampur are taar qorma, yakhni pulao, chapli kababs, gulatthi, and shah-pasand daal among others. Besides the main course items, Rampur boasts of many amazing sweet dishes, such as the habshi halwa, ginger halwa, mirch halwa and gosht ka halwa etc. The film also explores some unknown or forgotten recipes that have been found by Tarana Khan in old Persian and Urdu recipe books preserved at the famous Raza Library of Rampur. Some of these recipes such as the do-gosht pulao or dumpukht pulao have also been tried out with the help of present-day cooks in Rampur. Another aspect of this project and film was to highlight the restoration of some lost rice varieties such as Tilak Chandan and Hansraj which used to feature in Rampur’s cuisine in the form of khichdis and kheers many decades ago, and have now been found and grown again by a Rampur farmer. Since music and singing was part of the serving of food in the court of the Rampur nawabs, the film also explores briefly the evolution of classical music and its Rampur gharana under the royal patronage.

Watch a short trailer of the film below:

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