Dal Puri Diaspora (2012)
80 minutes, HD video
Dialogue: English and Bhojpuri with English subtitles
The recipe for dal puri traveled with indentured workers from India’s Gangetic plain to southern Caribbean colonies of Britain and the Netherlands in the 19th Century. In the 1960s the wrapped roti migrated from Trinidad to North America, where it is known as Caribbean or West Indian roti and is popular in cities like New York and Toronto. As the dish moved from home fire to street stall to restaurant chain, and from festival to fast food, the flatbread was radically transformed in ingredients, cooking method, ways of eating and identity. Shot in Toronto, Trinidad and India, this documentary tracks dal puri’s remarkable passage across space and time, linking colonialism, migration and the globalization of tastes. The documentary features interviews with leading food writers and scholars including Pushpesh Pant, Naomi Duguid, Brinsley Samaroo, Radhika Mongia and Patricia Mohammed.
written, directed & narrated by: Richard Fung
camera: Richard Fung
additional camera: Tanweer Ahmed (Delhi), Arun Jaiswal (Patna), Igor Drljača, Felix Chan, Ryan A. Randall (Toronto), Selwyn Henry (Trinidad)
offline & online editor: Dennis Day
score and sound design: Phil Strong
additional narration: Ramabai Espinet
animation & drawings: Evan Tapper
addtional animation & coloring: Dennis Day
resesarch & production manager: Pearl Sandhu
script editor: Tim McCaskell
Bhojpuri translation: Pearl Sandhu
Trinidad locations: Wendy Siung
Research funded by Chalmers Arts Fellowship
Production supported by The Canada Council for the Arts and The Ontario Arts Council
Winner, Samsung Audience Award, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2012.
Other festivals: Dhaka International Film Festival, Madurai Film Festival, Reframe, Peterborough, Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
“Sound, smell and taste can act as powerful memory triggers giving food the power to transport the eater back through time, perhaps even home.” Michele Henry, Toronto Star.
“Dal Puri Diaspora sizzles…” Rated NNNN, Norman Wilner, NOW Magazine.