Meet the Patels: When Culture and Personal Wants Collide

meet the patels documentary

Image courtesy: anokhimedia.com

 

Meet the Patels is a new documentary starring Ravi Patel about tradition, dating, love, and familial pressure. While the movie is sweet and funny, what can we take away and learn from Ravi’s adventures in dating and arranged marriages?

 

1. People give in to pressure

Ravi is a 30-year-old actor living in America. He was dating a white girl who he broke up with because he was conditioned to settle down with an Indian girl. His parents recognizing that he was aging (and quickly becoming undesirable) pester him until he finally agrees to let them pick a wife for him. What follows is an exchange of ‘bio-datas’, a sort of personal resume that details everything from a person’s job, horoscope, caste, skin tone (“wheatish”), and parents’ address.
 


2. Culture clash

Some traditions become so deeply ingrained in people that even after leaving the motherland, (sometimes for many generations) they can’t let go of their beliefs. Ravi dumps a woman he had been with for several years because he needed to get married and in his head it had to be to an Indian-American woman. To further complicate matters, she also had to have the last name Patel.

 

3. Mingling the past with the present

 America has a very undefined culture. Because people from all walks of life have immigrated here since its inception, people have mixed together from multiple generations of interracial marriages and relationships. There are so many hurdles to jump because falling in love isn’t really a conscious decision.

 

When tradition dictates that a nice Indian boy named Patel must marry a nice Indian girl (named Patel), marrying a nice Jewish girl named Berkowitz or a Latina named Diaz is not really an option. The documentary highlights all of the awkward and uncomfortable situations that arise from non-traditional pairings.

 

Meet the Patels offers a funny and poignant look at all of the hiccups and issues that arise when people try to assimilate into a country while still trying to maintain some semblance of their heritage. You can guess how the documentary ended, but thanks to Ravi and his journey, we get a little peek at a pocket of people with some fixed traditions and how they don’t quite fit within the mainstream. Worth a watch!

 

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