Meet the Patels
|Meet the Patels|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Geeta V. Patel, Ravi V. Patel|
|Starring||Geeta V. Patel, Ravi V. Patel|
|Cinematography||Geeta V. Patel|
|Box office||US$1.7 million|
Meet the Patels is a 2014 American romantic comedy documentary film directed by siblings Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel. The film explores the expectations surrounding marriage in the Patels' first-generation Indian immigrant family and in wider American society. It had its international premiere at Hot Docs in April 2014.
Neither Ravi Patel, a 30 year old small-time upcoming actor, nor his sister are married, to the chagrin of his parents Vasant (Financial planner) and Champa (an accomplished match-maker and real estate agent), who had an arranged marriage. However, Ravi has been, without his parents' knowledge, dating Audrey, a red-headed American woman, and Ravi recently broke up with her. On a family trip to India (during "wedding season") he agrees to make a serious effort to find a partner, alternating between a matchmaking process of dates with Indian-American women from among the Patel clan based in Gujarat by circulation of biodata sheets; registering with Indian marriage websites, identifying potential mates by evaluation and through extended family relations, and matrimonial ceremonies & conventions. Interspersed between the dating activity, much of it organized by his parents who continue to lament his lack of commitment to the process and high standards. Ravi discusses his experiences and his feelings about the whole thing with his sister Geeta, meanwhile Geeta also notices Ravi's one nights with Audrey, even after breaking up and Audrey's consistent request to break their plateau friendship. Ravi eventually recognizes that his frame of reference is always Audrey, his first love and no matter what or where he searches, he is not going to find Audrey in others. The parents hearing the news from Ravi at first becomes reluctant but comes around, concludes their match-making and relaxes their constraints in expectations and accepts their son's wishes for being with someone he truly loves, and Ravi ends up back with Audrey, who eventually wins the affection of his parents and adopts Indian traditions.
Production for the film began in early 2009 under directors Ravi Patel and Geeta Patel. The film was produced by Janet Eckholm and Geralyn Dreyfous along with PBS and received funding from the CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting).
The movie alternates between live action cinematography (filmed by Ravi's sister Geeta) with limited effort made to address lighting issues or the intrusion of microphones into the camera's view; and animation sequences of Ravi being interviewed by Geeta and explaining events in his dating and family life.
Meet the Patels has received mostly positive reviews from critics. The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it won the audience choice award leading Fox Searchlight to acquire remake rights. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 84%. The site's critical consensus reads "Meet the Patels works on multiple levels, offering an affably entertaining documentary about one man looking for love while posing thoughtful questions about cultural assimilation and modern romance."
Meet the Patels won the Audience Choice Award at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival, was named a Top 10 Audience Favorite at Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, named Best Feature Documentary at the Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival, and won the Audience Award at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival. It was also named the Best Documentary Film and won the Founders Grand Prize Best Film at the Traverse City Film Festival.
- Miller, Julie (10 September 2015). "Introducing Meet the Patels, the Best 2015 Documentary That You Probably Haven't Heard Of". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Grigsby Bates, Karen (11 September 2015). "'Meet The Patels': One Man's Quest To Find Love, The Old-School Indian Way". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Gupta, Shipra Harbola (16 June 2014). "LAFF: Brother-Sister Filmmaking Duo Ravi and Geeta Patel on Filming Their Parents in 'Meet the Patels'". Indiewire. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Smiley, Tavis (17 September 2015). "Actor Ravi Patel". The Tavis Smiley Show. PBS. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Fleming Jr, Mike (21 October 2015). "'Meet The Patels' In Fox Searchlight Remake Deal; Ravi And Geeta Patel To Write, Co-Direct". Deadline Hollywood.
- Rao, Mallika (11 November 2015). "Master of None's Ravi Patel on Doing the Infamous Indian Accent and the Second Coming of Aziz Ansari". Vulture. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Daswani, Kavita (10 September 2015). "The family behind 'Meet the Patels' takes candid talk to a warmly comic level". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Clayson, Jane (15 September 2015). "One Surprisingly Modern Arranged Marriage". On Point - WBUR. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Barker, Andrew (16 July 2014). "Film Review: 'Meet the Patels'". Variety. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "Meet The Patels". Rotten Tomatoes. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2016.