After sweeping the film festival circuit and garnering much critical praise along the way, Meet the Patels is finally set to open this Friday in limited theaters nationwide. Meet the Patels is a laugh-out-loud, real life romantic comedy about Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who enters a love triangle between the woman of his dreams and … his parents. Filmed by Ravi’s sister Geeta in what started as a family vacation video, this hilarious and heartbreaking film reveals how love is a family affair.
Bibi got an exclusive interview with Ravi and Geeta to find out more about their whirlwind of dates spanning the continental US via the “Biodating” system, a chain of weddings, online matrimonial websites, and the “Patel Matrimonial Convention.” Witty and brutally honest, this comedy explores the questions with which we all struggle: What is love? How do we find it? And even then, how do we keep it?
What inspired you to make the film Meet the Patels?
Geeta: Our Family
Ravi: Our Problems
How did your parents react when you told them about this “project”?
Ravi: Shock! They didn’t realize we were making this film.
Geeta: They thought it was a home video. I don’t think they really had any faith in us as filmmakers. Ha!
How would you describe this film to single Indian-Americans?
Geeta: Ravi is almost 30 and single, which means his family has declared a state of emergency to find him a soulmate. This film’s real life comedy is about the love triangle between Ravi, his parents, and the woman of his dreams.
Ravi: And my sister films the entire thing. It’s basically a nightmare.
Geeta: A really funny and entertaining one.
Ravi: At my expense.
Why do you think Indian-Americans are afraid to reveal their non-Indian relationships to their parents? What was your biggest fear and do you wish you had told them sooner?
Geeta: I definitely would have told them sooner.
Ravi: Me too. I think it just takes time to even process what is going on! I didn’t know I had a complex! Nobody told me!
Geeta: Oh please, I’ve told you –
Ravi: Oh, be quite.
Geeta: I think many Indian-Americans hide their relationships from their parents because they don’t want to hurt them.
Ravi: And we don’t want to hurt them until we are absolutely sure this girl/guy is worth hurting them for.
Geeta: What we don’t realize is that not telling them actually makes it hard to even commit to the girl … or guy.
Ravi: I am stressed out just talking about this.
How has the movie changed you as an individual and as a family?
Ravi: It brought us closer together in a way I would have never dreamt. It changed our lives.
Geeta: It made us better people. We had to learn to love and learn to be a better family. This starts with the individual.
What advice would you give to someone going through the same situation where parents and society think, “Not getting married and being single is the biggest loser you can be?”
Geeta: Whatever you are afraid of, look it in the face and walk to it.
Ravi: Be honest with yourself and your parents.
Geeta: Trying harder.
Ravi: Yeah, don’t give up.
Geeta: And um, therapy!
Which type of dating took you by the most surprise and why: Biodating, Internet Dating, Marriage Conventions, Weddings? Is there a “most funny” or “awkward moment” to share with Bibi readers?
Geeta: The Patel conventions. I had a really hard time with it when I went the first time, but so many friends have gotten married that way and are so happy.
Ravi: The conventions were fun. Biodating was tough. I mean, mom and dad were calling me afterwards to debrief?!
How will you measure the success of Meet the Patels film?
Ravi: We already feel successful in that it brought our family closer together.
Geeta: We hope this film helps other families as it has helped ours. That’s why we made it.
Can we expect a sequel or a reality TV show based on this concept?
Ravi: There is something in the works.
Geeta: Yes, something exciting that we can’t talk about yet!
Lastly, who do you think will get married first – Geeta or Ravi?
Join Ravi and Geeta with their quirky parents in an award-winning film with unique animation and a soulful soundtrack. Melded in a documentary and narrative form, Meet the Patels keep audiences entertained and glued to the screen. It’s a film everyone can relate to regardless of gender, age, or cultural background — after all, we have all been there.
MEET THE PATELS opens in theaters on September 11 in NYC, LA, and Chicago and in additional US cities on September 18.
Get the latest updates at: www.meetthepatelsfilm.com
Written by Ravi V. Patel, Geeta V. Patel, Billy McMillin, and Matthew Hamachek
Produced by Janet Eckholm & Geeta V. Patel
Directed by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel
In Theaters September 11, 2015
Runtime: 88 minutes