This isn’t one of those documentaries that’s going to change the world or our understanding of it, although the insights into Indian culture are fascinating. (2015) Documentary (Alchemy) Ravi Patel, Geeta Patel, Champa V. Patel, Vasant K. Patel, Meredith Philpott, Audrey Allison Wauchope. Heartwarming look at Indian family dynamics. Now single, he realizes he wants that extended family that he sees all around him; the family gatherings, the kids, the home, everything. REASONS TO STAY: Gets a little bit monotonous in the middle. To complicate matters, things are heating up again with Audrey whom Ravi never really got over and when his parents find out, the curry is going to really hit the fan. But they are concerned; their son is approaching his 30th birthday and isn’t married which in Indian culture is, as his sister Geeta puts it, Red Alert. NEXT: A Faster Horse. This is where Ravi’s parents are from, and in Gujarat, Patels marry other Patels—it’s not incest, it’s more of a “caste thing,” Ravi says, in which eligible singlets pair up with others generally within the same 50-square-mile tract of land. The screening I attended at the South Asian Film Festival in Orlando was largely attended by Indian families who laughed loudly at some of the cultural things (like parents calling multiple times during a date) that American audiences might not get. While the movie drags a bit in the middle as we watch Ravi get more and more frustrated with his lack of success, the end of the movie in which Ravi and his family reach an understanding is actually very touching. His parents are eager to set him up with a Patel – no, this isn’t an incest thing but more of a cultural thing, indicating that their hometowns are near the village where his parents grew up. Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based freelance pop culture writer and regular contributor to Paste. Meet the Patels can be rough around the edges, but Geeta, who’s directed the documentary war thriller Project Kashmir and is behind upcoming action film Mouse, almost seems to be employing certain techniques—cinéma vérité perhaps?—on purpose to lend the film the tone of an intimate home movie. Ravi and Geeta’s father Vasant, an affable man with relationship advice at the ready, very plainly states, “Not getting married and staying single is the biggest loser you can be.” Ouch. FINAL RATING: 7/10 Instead, the film features animation care of Powerhouse Animation Studios to recreate such charged moments, with Ravi providing NPR-like narration. He is set up on Biodata, a matchmaking website aimed at Indians. Directed by Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel Finding one's soul mate is hard enough in this modern world. Affiliate Disclosure: Evolve Media LLC, and its owned and operated websites may receive a small commission from the proceeds of any product(s) sold through affiliate and direct partner links. © 2020 Paste Media Group. However, having parents that exasperate their children (and vice versa) is pretty much universal and the love and affection in this family is clearly universal. Fresh out of a breakup with his American girlfriend and freaked out that he’s almost 30 and single, Indian American Ravi Patel goes on a family vacation to India with his head and heart spinning. Next, we follow Ravi on his dating frenzy, in which his parents put their networking skills into overdrive. During the India trip, and in meeting with his extended family, Ravi decides to do whatever it takes to find a wife. Which is when the purview of the film grows, becoming an eye-opening examination of a particular plot of Indian culture (namely, the state of Gujarat). Still, even he seems baffled by the barely discernible nuances between Patels and their respective territories when his father explains it all to him, map in hand. Meet the Patels (2014) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Ideally, according to the film, the lighter the skin tone the better, but these dating qualifiers are casually brushed aside, and Ravi and Geeta miss a pretty obvious opportunity to delve further into prejudices within the Indian culture in terms of race, religion and social status, especially coming from a film that explicates its cultural differences quite overtly. Metacritic: 70/100. Except my family was with me the entire time…The entire time.”.