“The Legend of Fat Mama” is a bittersweet story of the Chinese community in Kolkata, India, intertwined with the nostalgic journey in search of a woman who once made the most delicious noodles in the city’s Chinatown district. Kolkata once had a thriving community in its Chinatown, engaged in different trades, like medicine shops, food and shoemaking.


Though a small number of Chinese still live there, many of them left India in the aftermath of the 1962 India-China war. Thriving street food, disappearing family-run eateries, mahjong clubs, a Chinese printing press that has shut down and its handwritten counterpart that continues to deliver the news every morning, and the first all-woman dragon dance group preparing for the Chinese New Year make up the Chinese heritage in Kolkata.


About the director:


Rafeeq Ellias is an internationally known photographer. As a cinematographer, he has shot three documentaries: ‘The Nectar of Immortality’, a Channel Four film on the Kumbh Mela; ‘Slum Mumbai’, on Mumbai’s pavement-dwellers; and ‘Steps in Time’, on the Asiatic Society, Mumbai. ‘The Legend of Fat Mama’, made for BBC World, was Ellias’ first documentary as director and scriptwriter.


“The Legend of Fat Mama” won the Best Anthropological/Ethnographic Film at the 52nd National Film Awards.


( Supplied by William Dere)

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