Meet The Patels Trailer

Watched on: Netflix

Production Companies: Four In A Billion Productions, Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Chicken and Egg Pictures, Impact Partners, Whitewater Films

Directors: Ravi Patel, Geeta Patel

Genre: Documentary, “A Real-Life Romantic Comedy”

My Rating: 4/5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%

This film was so funny, heartwarming, and sad. I smiled and laughed along with the characters. Per the picture on Netflix, I was unsure what the film was about although it seemed to be leaning toward a documentary. I wasn’t sure if it actually was a documentary within the first few minutes, but it was. Basically, the film is about Ravi Patel. He dated a girl for two years, and they eventually broke up because Ravi had never informed his parens about her existence or their relationship. They were not informed because the picture he’s always had in his head of who he should date is an Indian-American woman, and he believes that is also what his family wants. He is now trying to move on from that relationship, and his parents ask him to consider letting them do arranged dating for him. He finally agrees, and the journey ensues. He uses this database for Patels in North America called Biodate, goes to weddings in India, uses dating services for Indians, and goes to a marriage conference for Patels. He reignites a friendship with his former girlfriend during this time. She eventually informs him that she could be in a relationship with him, but she cannot remain friends with him without that promise of something more because it’s too injurious to her. Ravi continues on the dates, but he finds no one. The film ends with Ravi and his former girlfriend in a relationship again, with his family’s knowledge and acceptance, after his mom’s initial reluctance.

Thoughts:

  • The message about casting expectations for those you hope to date aside was important. Ravi’s wanting to/feeling like he needed to marry an Indian woman hindered him personally from the love he already knew.
  • His mother’s reluctance towards his girlfriend stemmed from how Ravi lied about the relationship and also how the girlfriend was not Indian. It wasn’t so much that she was white, but it was a real concern on the side of the mother that some of their culture would be lost. Eventually, she told Ravi that she would love whoever he loved. I enjoyed the message about retaining the culture. Ravi is definitely more Americanized than his mother and father, but he considers it a virtue. Although he appreciates how his Indian family lives all in one spot, as opposed to being spread around.
  • It was very interesting when Ravi asked his mother if he would accept his girlfriend if she could be Indian in every way she wants. This is culminated when his girlfriend ends up cooking Indian food with his mother.
  • It’s not a hate of other cultures (except for the mention of no blacks, no Muslims- personal experience added) but just an appreciation and a love for their own.
  • I definitely learned about the existence of things I previously had no idea about: biodate, conference for marriage, patels in US, december as wedding month. Further explanation of Patels in US: I didn’t realize that they had a certain perception among other Indians with different last names. Also, it was v. cool to see the familial aspect that comes along with being a Patel, when they went to a motel and they owner ended up being a Patel, and they talked to one anoter as if they had always known each other. It was obvious how deep the bond can run.
  • The arranged dating/marriage didn’t seem out of date. The arranged marriages of those of Indian descent seemed to be a positive thing. The ones mentioned in the film were all successful. I also really liked when Ravi’s father said that, now, people expect to know everything about a person before they marry them. However, when their marriage was arranged, they didn’t know a thing about each other. They expected to get to know each other, and thirty years later, they still expect to and do learn new things about one another.
  • They addressed the Fair and Lovely/Fair and Handsome skin lightening products and how someone’s complexion plays a factor in their potential marriage proposals. Here’s a Facebook page against the use of Fair and Lovely: Brown N’ Proud
  • The cinematography wasn’t perfect, which was mentioned by Ravi to his sister (who was the cameraperson). It was actually inspiring that it wasn’t great. It means you should just go and make a film. The story can shine even if the cinematography doesn’t, and this story was good. The editing was great, and it had a nice arch.
  • It was an interesting concept for life. The make up, break up, and get back together if you’re meant to.
  • The portrayal marriage as important for the family aspect and continuing that was v. nice.
  • 10/10 would recommend (and I did).

RL Update: Ravi is actually married to Mahaley Patel, as of November 2015.

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