a picture of a cooking pot
Video, 1 hr

Dastarkhwan-e Rampur: A Feast in Rampur

A cultural history of north India’s Rampur town through food

A documentary 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. This documentary not only explores the delicacies that are still prepared in Rampur but also looks for recipes and ingredients that have been lost, or could be revived. The film talks to local food historians like Tarana Khan and the members of Rampur’s nawabi family, besides the traditional chefs who prepare various delicious dishes. Some of the foods unique to Rampur are taar qorma, yakhni pulao, chapli kababs, gulathi, and shah-pasand daal among others. The project also helped restore some lost rice varieties like Tilak Chandan and Hansraj that were part of Rampur’s cuisine.

The Film

Director: Yousuf Saeed 

Camera: Danish Mirza

Editing: Yousuf Saeed

Research and coordination in Rampur: Tarana Husain Khan


The Research

This documentary is produced as part of the project: Forgotten Food: Culinary Memory, Local Heritage and Lost Agricultural Varieties in India, 2019-23

Led by Professor Siobhan Lambert-Hurley (University of Sheffield)

in collaboration with

Dr Saumya Gupta (Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi)

Professor Duncan Cameron (University of Manchester)

Professor Claire Chambers (University of York)

The project was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund through the Arts & Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom.


About the filmmaker

Yousuf Saeed is an independent filmmaker and author based in New Delhi, producing documentary films and writings on shared art and cultural traditions of South Asia since 1990. His films like Basant (1997), Sufi Sama (1998), and Khusrau Darya Prem ka (2015) feature Indo-Persian music and literary heritage. Yousuf’s feature-length documentary Khayal Darpan (2006) about the classical music tradition in Pakistan has been screened worldwide.


See also