Spice Road

South Asia meets the American heartland on a culinary journey into the lives of extraordinary individuals in unexpected places.

Dhabas director, Sami Khan, and showhost Rupak Ginn check out the menu at Punjabi Dhaba.
Funding Initiative
Short-Form Series and Special Projects
filmmaker Sami Khan

Sami Khan

SAMI KHAN is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose work has screened at the Toronto, Tribeca, Hot Docs, and Mumbai Film Festivals and been supported by the Sundance and Tribeca Film Institutes, Rooftop Films, IFP, the NBC/Universal Director’s Fellowship, and the Berlinale. ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN, his latest documentary (with Smriti Mundhra), was Show more nominated for a 2020 Academy Award (Best Short Documentary). THE LAST OUT, Sami’s first feature documentary, was slated to premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. The film tells the harrowing tale of four Cuban baseball players and their dangerous journeys out of their homeland and into the United States. Show less

filmmaker Rupak Ginn

Rupak Ginn

Actor/writer Rupak Ginn holds a degree in English literature from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia University. Most commonly known for his seven seasons as Raj on USA's "Royal Pains," he has also starred off-Broadway (“The Stone Witch”) and in numerous TV shows and films. He is the winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation screenwriting award and Show more was named to 2019’s Harvardwood's Most Staffable Writers list. Having previously starred in an ITVS narrative short ("Beholder") opposite Jessica Pare, he is a huge believer in ITVS' mission of creating social change and greater understanding through the screen. Show less

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The Film

Along the highways that connect cities throughout Southern Asia, dhabas (small, roadside food stands) serve food with a local, rustic flair. But more than just providing a hearty meal, dhabas are a gathering point for travelers and immigrants alike to share culture and ideas. Spice Road explores these democratic bastions where patrons from every walk of life enjoy a meal and each other’s company equally. Americans’ growing love of South Asian fare has created an increasing appreciation for the social and culinary delights that are shared at local dhabas throughout our nation’s rural heartland. While concerns of xenophobia and racism frequent the headlines, dhabas are the community outposts across the American landscape where warmth and generosity welcome customers from around the country and throughout the world.