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Meet the Patels

“Meet The Patels”

Directors and siblings, Geeta and Ravi V. Patel, document the societal pressures of marriage in their first generation Indian American family with this real life story starring their extended family.

Synopsis - After a breakup with his secret white girlfriend, who his parents knew nothing about, and concerned about being almost 30 and single, Ravi leaves for a family vacation to India with mixed emotions. After careful convincing by his parents, Vasant and Champa, and considering the happy marriages of his cousins, Ravi decides to enter the Patel matchmaking system and begins a search for an American Patel just like him. The efficient Patel network is alerted of Ravi’s availability by his matchmaker parents. All the while, Ravi can’t shake his documentarian sister who follows him around, inserting unhelpful commentary at every turn. Over a year’s time, Ravi is sent on dates around the country via the “bio-dating” system, a chain of weddings, online matrimonial sites and the “Patel Matrimonial Convention.” Witty and honest, this comedy explores questions of love and how do we find and keep it.

Watching a documentary, you may not expect it to be heartwarming, make you laugh out loud and have you rooting for each character but “Meet The Patels,” succeeds at just that. Second-generation Indian Americans will relate to the story especially children of the 1970s and 1980s. Ravi’s parents have straightforward dialogues that will leave you in splits. The movie educates viewers in a refreshingly simple manner about the history of the Patel background as an immigrant community. It was a treat to see the portrayal of honest thoughtful parents not the stereotypical ones making forceful demands often seen in film. The introspection shared by Geeta and Ravi on camera about what it means to grow up with a dual cultural identity and the wishes we have for our future with our own families was particularly touching and will strike a chord with many. Animation is used to capture the essential points not on film and it works perfectly, as does the soundtrack. In interviews, the filmmakers have said they wanted to make a film that their community could be proud of and understand and they definitely have. The film took six years to make and initially was rejected by many film festivals but thankfully the makers did not give up. This simply shot story about an ordinary family and how they deal with the societal pressures related to love and marriage delivers a captivating film, which will resonate with a broad audience, not just those with the last name Patel. Love truly is a family affair!


Learning to DriveLearning to Drive”

Starring Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, Sarita Choudhury, Grace Summer, Jake Weber; directed by Isabel Coixet.

This feel-good story about an unlikely pair who helps each other overcome the road blocks of life stars Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley and nominee Patricia Clarkson. Wendy is a Manhattan writer whose husband has just left her for a younger woman. Darwan Singh is a driving instructor on the verge of an arranged marriage navigating new territory of his own. Darwan is a proud gentle Sikh who was a university professor in India. Wendy wants to become self-sufficient and reclaim her independence but she runs into a barrier common to many lifelong New Yorkers: she’s never learned to drive. Wendy hires Darwan to teach her. His calm restraint and her unraveling life seem like an awkward fit. However, their unlikely friendship awakens them to the joy, humor, and love in starting life anew. Kingsley has said it was a responsibility and joy to portray this Sikh character honestly. The chemistry and seemingly effortless acting by the lead pair is sure to be a highlight.

Katti Batti

“Katti Batti”

Starring Kangana Ranaut, Imran Khan; directed by Nikhil Advani; music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.

The director of the blockbuster “Kal Ho Naa Ho,” brings us an unusual modern day romance about relationships and break ups. Paired together for the first time, Imran Khan makes a comeback as Madhav Kabra, an architect known as Maddy. He is in love with the chic and stylish Payal, played by the unstoppable acting powerhouse Kangana Ranaut. Maddy is charmed by Payal’s free-spirited attitude towards life and the story revolves around their live-in relationship. They make a perfect couple until a turn of events creates a distance between them and Payal leaves Maddy. The fate of their relationship is tested after she disappears. In interviews, Ranaut has said this role has been one of the toughest to date. Count on Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy for a catchy chart-topping soundtrack.

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