Meet the Patels Filmmaker Q&A | Blog | Independent Lens | PBS
Dec 22, It was a long and winding road for sibling filmmakers Geeta Patel and her brother Ravi in the making of their film Meet the Patels — including. Directed by Geeta Patel, Ravi Patel. With Ravi Patel, Geeta Patel, Champa V. Patel, Vasant K. Patel. An Indian-American man who is about to turn 30 gets help . Ravi Patel is an American actor, writer and director of Indian ancestry who is best known for his roles in Transformers (), Meet the Patels () and Master.
He was born and grew up in the US and he has different expectations. Yet his upbringing and culture call to him. Part of him wants to be traditional. Part of him does not. He's stuck in the middle and the parents are impatient. This film documents a real year in Ravi Patel's life and follows him as he seeks a marriage partner in the traditional Indian way, modified by American cultural tones. His parents work very hard to find him a mate using the international Patel underground, which includes the extended Patel family of aunts, uncles, and cousins; biographies of available mates not necessarily written by the candidates themselves; and an annual Patel Matrimonial Convention created to help young Patels meet as many marriage candidates as possible in the shortest possible time.
Ravi even flies cross country tracking down possible mates. Although it's a documentary, this is a truly funny movie with a lot of heart.
Ravi Patel (actor)
The parents want what they think is best for Ravi and Ravi wants to please his parents and fit in with the extended Patel family. There are many funny scenes as this year-long quest unfolds and there are humor-laden extenuating circumstances as well.
Ravi's older sister Geeta is the cinematographer and she happens to live with Ravi in LA. She's not married either. Ravi has a girlfriend of two years that he's broken up with just before the movie starts. We understand how hard it must have been — and still would be — to see their culture and tradition fade. We also see how brave and strong they are to try to understand us, and help us achieve our dreams and find love.
We are really lucky.
We want to be there for our parents, too. I also feel so much more aware of my emotions and actions. And I realize that love is more important than anything else.Ravi Patel's Family Immigrant Story - I Love You, America on Hulu
And that my family will always be there. They know us better now, too. In the end, we all have a much deeper relationship because we are all much more honest with each other. While we often disagree about things, we are mostly respectful of letting everyone be themselves. Other than that, I think, in getting to see our entire family as characters in a movie, we both got a chance to be truly grateful for how lucky we are to have such a wonderful family.
What an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do this, and make your family closer. Oh, and mom and dad are famous now.
I get calls every day from people wanting to cast them in all kinds of things. Do you have an especially favorite scene? Just a…few things have changed in your lives since the filming stopped. What updates can you share with us? What did you learn while shooting a personal film like Meet the Patels that helped you with your approach to filming TV shows?
I just kind of filmed Ravi as I filmed mom and dad. When we came back from India, we showed the footage to PBS. And two, the relationship between you and your brother is really strong. 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 from a private, difficult culture to document, I wanted to make the film that I wish was around when I was going through this.
So that feeling overpowered the sacrifice and inconvenience. The reality television way of doing things would be that the moment someone is about to cry you bring the camera out. Very early on we had decided that the family comes before the film. We wrestled with it. We actually met with him.
Our goal was that the animation was not going to be gratuitous or boring. And I think the animation added a whole new dimension to the film. So I learned that putting your own restrictions like that can actually lead to something really great. I also learned that if you are a director, learn the business side.
Ravi Patel (actor) - Wikipedia
Did making that film change how you see the acting business? Did it change how others saw you? My first role was in Transformers. And the only impression I could do was this Indian call-center guy, and so those were the sorts of roles I got cast in.