Tuesday, November 9, 2021

A Movie You Might Have Missed #53 : Meet the Patels

It's been 11 years since I began this series highlighting movies I wished more people knew about. I'm rerunning it from the beginning because I still think these are movies you might have missed.
Mom: She lives in India. She’s a bit heavy but has a Master’s in engineering. 

Ravi: So she’s overweight and an engineer and an Indian. That’s not the best pitch, Mom.

Ravi Patel is a first generation Indian-American. After a failed relationship he realizes that his ideal bride would be an Indian raised in the U.S. since he was too. But he has trouble finding such women. His mother is overjoyed to help since she's a famous matchmaker who has been frustrated because her own children won't accept her help. Filmed by his sister, Geeta, Ravi spends a year trying to find love in traditional Indian style.

A lot of reviewers have called this predictable and in one sense it is. We have a feeling that we know who Ravi will wind up with the entire time.

However, there are a lot of other threads combined in the year of matchmaking Indian style. It is those threads that provide more depth than simply who Ravi will like enough to marry.

Vignettes give context for cultural views of marriage, whether of older Indian couples talking about how their marriages were arranged or of young married couples containing either one or both Indian spouses. The comments that both Geeta and their parents drop throughout the filming combine to become a reflection on the importance family and attachment to culture plays, especially in immigrant families.

It was fascinating watching everyone struggle to adapt their native culture to that of their adopted American homeland. For instance one wonders how the Patel parents felt as they adapted the standard Indian matchmaking process in an effort to meet their American son halfway. We also see how this struggle makes Ravi look more deeply at his own life.

This is an amusing, light piece, but one that is also heartwarming and genuine, with insights to share beyond what you might expect.

NOTE: this is NOT a Bollywood movie but does reflect many basics of Indian cultural norms, especially in their respect for parents.

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