Actor Ravi Patel (Scrubs, The New Normal) is almost 30 and coming off of a miserable breakup with his girlfriend Audrey when he turns to his parents and asks if the traditional arranged way they got married would work for him as well. Faster than you can say “biodata” his smiling parents seem to have sent him 20 possible matches and he starts “cold calling” women to meet prospective marriage partners.
His sister and filmmaker Geeta is behind the camera recording it all for posterity in the documentary film Meet the Patels. That’s the story that seems to be sketched out in the film’s trailer. The brother-sister team of Geeta and Ravi Patel talked to Indiewire about why they decided to make a film sharing the personal story of Ravi’s search for a spouse.
Geeta Patel: …But we both thought about it, and even though it is quite a sacrifice and inconvenience to tell the story of your own family, especially being desi and being from a private, difficult culture to document, we both felt — or I can just speak for myself — I wanted to make the film that I wish was around when I was going through this. I wanted to feel less alone — so that feeling overpowered the sacrifice and inconvenience.
Read the rest of Shipra Gupta’s interview with Ravi and Geeta for more on the background and making of Meet the Patels, including why they decided to use animation for parts of the film.
The film has been recognized as a top ten audience favorite at North America’s biggest documentary film festival Hot Docs, and it won the the audience favorite award at the LA Film Fest. Catch it at its northern California premiere in San Jose, California, this Friday September 5 at 7 p.m. as part of CAAMFest San Jose.
Bonus: Meet the family — including the charming Patel parents! — behind Meet The Patels in this two part couch-side interview with DP/30’s David Poland.