Meet Geeta V. Patel, who directed and wrote Meet The Patels a documentary about one family’s quest fo find a suitable bride for their son.
Beta, you have to get married is what Geeta’s parents tell Ravi, her sibling, who had just turned 30. Crisis, crisis, crisis is what I was thinking says Geeta. In Meet The Patels we see how one family deals with this crisis, and how in the process they learn to love and respect each other and be “a better family and better individuals,” says Geeta.
The project started as a vacation film during the family’s travels in India. What started off as a fun project turns out to be a a 6 year long project. At one point Geeta and Ravi were not sure if they wanted to make the film given the tension between the two of them. But they work out their differences and resume their project and the result is Meet The Patels
Before their family trip to India Ravi had gone through a break-up that his parents did not know about, but Geeta did. Their parents worry Ravi is getting old and still single. This, by the way, is a big deal in the Indian American community. Settling down is the “big” question for anyone who is in their 20’s and if you are in your 30’s you are definitely in code red and the family is in one big crisis mode. How do we get our child married is the questions that haunts them 24/7. The Patel family was definitely in code red zone as Geeta puts it.
Once Ravi agrees to his parents suggestion to go the tried and tested arranged marriage process, we get to see how the Patel family goes about networking and pitching biodata after biodata to find the right match. This is a candid and intimate film where we see the parents Vasant and Champa pitch in and compile “biodata” of suitable girls and Ravi then spends time meeting these suitable girls and to find that elusive “life partner.” Ravi comes up with the idea of documenting this challenge to find a suitable partner to his sister and that is how the film is born. Finding a partner is a challenge not just for Ravi, but for many young people within the Indian American community in the USA.
LISTEN TO GEETA V PATEL ON MEET THE PATELS AND WACHOWSKI SIBLINGS
Oh! Did I mention that Ravi is an actor and stand-up comedian? He co-directed the film with Geeta. Ravi is part of the new TV series Grandfathered.
While the film is funny and delightful it is also filled with honesty and underscores the challenges that many young Indian Americans have in finding the right partner. The film raises quite a few pertinent questions on marriage and why divorce rates are high in the US given that many choose their own partners as Geeta points out. Their parents went through the arranged marriage route and are happily married. How come Ravi is not able to go that same route and find his share of happiness? Why do arranged marriages work and how come such couples stay happily married is one of the central questions Geeta and her sibling Ravi explore in the film in a very touching and senistive manner. At the heart this film is about love.
Besides the making of Meet The Patels, we also spoke with Geeta about her work with the Wachoskwi siblings. She worked with them on Sense8, a Netflix production. Geeta is currently working on a produciton called Mouse with Grant Hill, who produced The Tree of Life and Matrix.
Photo credits: Meet The Patels