“Meet The Patels” is a different kind of documentary.
Starring and directed by sibling duo Geeta and Ravi Patel, the film follows the love life of Ravi Patel, a first-generation Indian-American man who’s facing the pressure to get married from his traditional Indian family. He allows his parents to play matchmaker in hopes of finding the perfect Indian woman to wed. This film is just as entertaining as it sounds.
Ravi, who is almost 30 and newly broken up with his girlfriend due to his inability to commit and his fear of disapproval from his parents, faces constant criticism from his family regarding his single and unmarried status. He eventually gives in to the pressure and allows his parents to set him up on a series of dates across North America.
One of the most interesting aspects of “Meet The Patels” is its focus on Indian culture and the use of biodata matchmaking. If you’ve never heard of biodata (which I hadn’t before viewing the film), it’s basically a marriage resume that’s crucial to the process of arranged marriages in Indian society. Watching the Patel family run through stacks of paper with women’s biographical and educational data was one of the most refreshing things I’ve seen in quite a while.
“Meet The Patels” is not particularly tear jerking or laugh-out-loud funny, but that’s what keeps this film honest and real. Throughout the film, you get to follow Ravi on awkward first (and last) dates as he tries to look for the right woman in all the wrong places. The film is also very candid. With amateur-style shooting methods, it feels as if you’re watching a home video. The film also uses a unique form of random animated sequences to narrate Ravi’s inner thoughts whilst giving the film a new, attention-grabbing dynamic.
Unfortunately, the film is a bit anticlimactic and ends rather abruptly with a heart-warming, but rather lackluster, ending. However, “Meet The Patels” is still a great film about love, culture and family from a fresh point of view.
MOVE gives “Meet The Patels” 4 out of 5 stars.