Meet the Patels Filmmaker Q&A | Blog | Independent Lens | PBS
Meet the Patels filmmaker siblings Geeta and Ravi Patel talk about how the “It's a documentary that began as a home movie and ended up a warm and Mom and dad Champa and Vasant Patel steal the show with their. Vasant and Champa Patel found love and laughter in their arranged India with their children even yielded the documentary "Meet the Patels,". Meet the Patels is a real-life romantic comedy about Ravi Patel, Meet the Patels' Parents: New Romantic Wisdom from Champa and Vasant.
I call them mild or lazy sometimes. They just go along. That is all that I have noticed in inter-class marriage. I saw pivotal moments in the film. There was a particular email in the film. I was talking to a client who had seen your film as well.
I voiced, from where I sit, how courageous and self-empowered it was for the girlfriend in the movie to have sent the email that she did. I think this is super important for women to understand, of all ethnicities and ages. This is something I coach on often. Tell me about your processing as a result of that email. The movie is more about achieving a degree of transparency and courage with my relationship with mom and dad, and having honesty there. That was something I was struggling with despite the email.
The email definitely accelerated things. Certainly, that struggle was documented through the movie. I got the impression that the email put it on hyper-drive. You may have given yourself a bit more time without it. I took enough time as it was. I would love for the three of you to weigh in on this based on your research, expertise or personal experience. What are the top three tips for South Asian singles in North America navigating their search for a life partner?
The first one is to decide what you want your relationship to be like with your family, not in the moment, but in the future when this person comes into your life. If you want that relationship to be where everyone gets along and loves each other, the thing about family is that we tend to love each other unconditionally. No matter who it is that you choose to bring into your life as a partner, understand that your family is probably going to love you no matter what.
The key to navigating that world, whether you find someone who is South Asian or not, is in how you communicate with your family. Find a degree of transparency within the relationship. Figuring out exactly what it is that you want will be premised on what you want in terms of the dynamic between this person you bring in and the rest of your family.
Review: 'Meet the Patels' an adorable doc about Indian dating
That tends to get in the way. There will be more that will get in the way. He will not invite me in his process again. There is no invitation needed. These people invite themselves. What are your top three tips for South Asians to navigate this? I still believe that checking out culture and religion are important before you go any further. Looks can be deceiving many times. The third thing is, if there are good basics and the fundamentals of the lifestyle match, then go for it.
Love will develop as time goes. I want to go a little deeper. Many times, kids are at a party or a bar. They see a girl and try to approach her. They get so lost in her looks that they forget the main fundamentals of the relationship that they need to have a marriage.
For example, you like her because she looks very sexy. Then they have to let it go. Vasant, you were quoted by your wife. What else do you have to add? Let me expand upon what she just said. We all want to look for a beauty. What determines the success of the marriage is not how she looks but how beautiful she is inside. You cannot see all of those things in a picture. I think they lose out on a lot of candidates. I wish I had approached them before.
I think there is a big difference in those two. I hope they keep a proper perspective when they look for a match. Do you have anything to add as far as chemistry or physical attractiveness? I agree with what they say.
There is more to a person than the way that they look. I would also say that looks are important, to the extent that they are one small component of attraction. All of a sudden, you meet someone and there is this magical moment. There is not enough emphasis put on the stuff that mom and dad are talking about, which is compatibility and commitment. I think all three things are important, attraction, compatibility and commitment.
You have to be able to look at all three as a spectrum as opposed to just leaning on one of those pillars. I want to make a comment here. You have to know about the inside. I think that is the difference. I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this. What does a compass do? It gives you direction. Let your values and life goals guide you in your selection of who to date.
That sounds similar to what Champa mentioned before. Compatibility is hugely important. I believe that time and interaction has a role in revealing that long-term potential. I think that commitment is a decision rather than a feeling.
Review: 'Meet the Patels' an adorable doc about Indian dating
I do agree with Vasant. In my experience, many men need to be attracted in order to look under the hood and see all the other great stuff. Chemistry can absolutely be blinding. I have seen all of that. Are there any trends or implications that any of you foresee for South Asian marriage going forward in this country in the future? This is based on what we discussed and the things that you portrayed in the documentary. People in my generation are looking for all three of those things, attraction, commitment and compatibility.
My advice is to go and see the movie, Meet the Patels. It is all about everything that we just discussed, and even more. It is playing all over America and Canada. That would be my advice.
What we just talked about was a very small part of what we covered in the movie. Those are real-life discussions and emotions. I think the film did a great job of hitting a lot of the issues that we see. I would agree with that. Does anyone have any last thoughts before I let you go? I think mom would tell everyone who is listening to get married. In your search to find the right partner, love them just like you love your child.
That is the key to happiness. I do believe that one should get married. I think getting married is a wonderful thing.
As long as you both love each other, marriage will not have any issue. In the end, we all have a much deeper relationship because we are all much more honest with each other.
Meet the Patels - Wikipedia
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.
Meet The Patels – Interview With the Movie Cast – Ravi Patel, Vasant Patel & Champa Patel
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.
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. But those roles really catapulted me. Before I had a career, I would have never been in a place to do a film that creates an important dialogue like Meet the Patels. After Meet the Patels, I think people started casting me in more roles because I was funny and not because I could do an accent.
I also got to be a director on Meet the Patels. As an actor, you are one part of telling a larger story. As a director, you get to put the whole thing together, influence every frame. Given all that, do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers?
Talk to other filmmakers.