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MOVIE REVIEW: MEET THE PATELS


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Movie Details:

Star cast - 

The real-life Patel family
Written by: Ravi V. Patel, Geeta V. Patel, BillyMcMillin,and Matthew Hamachek
Produced by: Janet Eckholm & Geeta V. Patel
Executive Producers: Geralyn!DreyfousVijay VaidyanathanVasant K. Patel, Niraj Bhatia
Directed by: Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel
In Theaters September 11, 2015,
Rating: PG

The movie is a real-life recording of Ravi Patel's quest to find a Patel wife that would become a part of his Patel world in America. The recording, done by sister, Geeta Patel, in 2012-13, was always intended to be made into a documentary. However, at the time, the parents didn't take it seriously. 


MOVIE REVIEW ...

THREE THINGS THE MOVIE HAS GOING FOR IT ...

#1. The Plot and the Pace: The fact that the movie is a real-life recording of events and emotions, lends an amazingly fresh angle to the documentary style movie without in any way taking away the "movie" aspect of viewing. Anything that is not a real recording, is presented in animation form, ensuring no "acting" in the making of the film. The pace is excellent and gripping, keeping you riveted to the unfolding of events. You understand and relate with every aspect of the Patel life, even though you are most likely not a Patel. You want those parents and realize you already have them. You want that brother, that sister and know they are yours, in your life.

#2. The Cast-

This is as real as it gets. You can't make up any of this. The best set of actors in the world can't convey what the Patel family easily, effortlessly and naturally conveys- the family bond, the care, the love and the drive to carry all that forth in future generations. You find yourself intently listening to every statement that came out of the dad's mouth, the mom's mouth, the sister's and the brother's. The parents are, in two words- the best.

#3. The Communication-

From scene one you notice the excellent communication among the Patel family members. You realize how open the conversation channel is among them, you feel the easy vibes in the air, you perceive the affection they share, you understand what they don't voice and why.

#4. The Humor-

You burst out laughing in several scenes in the movie. It seems almost unbelievable that the dialogues are not scripted. What a hilarious family- bet there is never a dull moment in their life.

WHERE IT FAILS ...

Nowhere. There is no suggestion that can be possibly offered to make the movie any more humorous or real or entertaining.

We Say:

We love movies that are educational, that provides excellent opportunities for parents to have varied kinds of discussions with their children. This is one such movie. It provides ample topics to discuss. The passion, the desire and the love that drives parents to do and say things that they do, the importance of continuing the family traditions and culture that you appreciate as a part of your life growing up, the significance of such traditions. The biggest take away from the movie is the importance of instilling in your child the confidence of conveying their own thoughts, beliefs and ideas to the parents and knowing that they will be well received by them.


By Sonal Kulshrestha

(Sonal is a computer programmer by profession and a writer by passion. She is an avid movie goer. She lives in Texas, USA) 

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE MOVIE FROM ITS MAKERS- GEETA AND RAVI ...

1. Making the movie: Ravi and Geeta made the movie as coping mechanism for something that every human being suffers from- family. Here the brother-sister duo recount how it all happened.  It all started when Ravi was doing a comedy gig and an Indian Lawyers Convention. Having run out of material, he started talking about his mom trying to set him up with a Patel girl. The crowd laughed hysterically, many telling him to write a book. Later, as the family took a trip to India, Geeta started recording the trip in order to practice the art of recording. She has just spent 7 years making a documentary on war zones- The Kashmir War. Ravi had just broken up with a white girl and the parents were trying to set him up with a Patel girl, after having given up on Geeta. They showed PBS the footage and they loved it. They tested the film with various different audience and everyone loved it. It wasn't about being Indian, it was about family and everyone related. They spent 6 years making the film and when they were finally done, nobody wanted it. They finally "begged" their way into a festival and premiered. The show was a sold out. They showed the film around the world for a year and every show was a sold out, winning the Audience Awards everywhere. In fact, it was the first film in the history of Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival to win both the Audience Award and the Founder's Grand Prize for Best Film. UTA came on board and finally, Alchemy decided to take the film to theaters in a wide release. People were calling the film the next BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING and the Hollywood Reporter named it an Oscar!contender.

2. Animation parts in the movie: Ravi and Geeta didn't want a camera on their parents' faces when they were going through tough stuff, so they decided early on that family would always come first. To avoid that, they played around with various alternative to convey the key moments that were not shot. Finally, the idea of radio came to them. Taking inspiration from This American Life and American Splendor, they worked on Radio form and Ravi's audio story-telling structuring for an year. And that is how the animation component came about. the animations were actually fitted into the movie raw, without any "finish". They spent another couple of years with the animation- getting the animators who could pull it off and be comfortable with their image in producing raw-looking animation.


3. The relationship took a toll: Geeta and Ravi recall that during the making of the movie, they almost lost each other. "I almost killed Geeta during the making of the film", says Ravi. "Ravi is impossible to work with", adds Geeta. However, they both agreed that the film completely changed their relationship with their parents. It changed their lives.


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Ravi & Geeta Patel