Saturday, November 3, 2012

Feature: Dal Puri Diaspora premieres in Toronto Nov. 10

Celebrated Trinidadian-Canadian filmmaker Richard Fung premieres his newest film, Dal Puri Diaspora at the REEL Asian International Film Festival on November 10. 
The film looks at the travels of roti from India to the Caribbean, and introduces audiences to Andil Gosine’s WARDROBES, a collection of art-fashion objects that reference indentureship. 

For the premiere, Fung, Gosine and REEL Asian team up for a post-screening Rum and Roti Lime that shows two pieces from Wardrobes and features a performance piece by Gosine and other visual artists. 

Exclusively for Jyoti, Gosine pitched a few questions to Fung about the film:

Andil: Where’s your favourite place in Toronto to get a dal puri?
Richard: I love Drupati's but I most frequently go to Pam's or Ali's.
Andil: What makes a good dal puri for you? You know it's not a food I every really grew attached to. Of the Indian rotis, where does it rank among your favourites?
Richard: I didn't like all that sandy dal falling out when I was a kid, but now I think it's the test of a good roti in Toronto: whether there is enough dal in the filling; some places have only a little paste-like dal smeared in the middle of the roti. It should also be thin and not too greasy. My favourite has always been paratha. But the only roti I know how to make is sada roti, so that's what I eat most often.
Andil: Why did you go looking for the origins of roti?
Richard: I grew up eating what I thought of as Indian food, and from the time I first went to India in 1977 I kept looking in vain for these dishes, not only dal puri but, say, snack foods like aloo pies, saheena and phulouries. On that and subsequent trips to India, I travelled to most regions of the country and that absence of familiar foods was mysterious. Indian friends in India and in Toronto would often say they knew the dal puri, but their leads and their descriptions were always off. Then finally in 2009, I was a visiting scholar at the Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia (national Islamic university) in Delhi, and one of the other profs, Sohail Akbar, who is from eastern Utttar Pradesh, said yes, we have this in my home town, and he described what sounded convincingly like a dal puri. So I thought OK, let's finally do this, let's see trace this dish back to its source.
Andil: What's the most meaningful thing that came out of making the film for you?Richard: I got to meet amazing people, I gained a better understanding of the social and historical context not just of the food, but about Indian migration and about Trinidad itself. And I got to eat a lot of great food.

Tickets to Dal Puri Diaspora and Rum and Roti are available exclusively (Tickets are almost sold out, so act quick if interested!)

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai