Meet the Patels Filmmaker Q&A | Blog | Independent Lens | PBS
Ravi Patel has been in over 70 national commercials, films and TV shows, most Becki Newton — LIVE Interview About the Divine Timed Auditions. Love when we find him later on in New Orleans,a recluse,sitting at a piano, having survived on avesisland.info a big fall from when we first meet him. “I guess you could say we both started off living the Indian dream and then set out to disappoint our parents,” Ravi Patel jokes. He started off as.
Audrey is white, and Ravi's parents — Vasant and Champa Patel — expect their only son will marry a nice Indian girl, preferably from their hometown province of Gujarat.
That area is filled with Patels who are all distantly related, and many of whom have married each other since time immemorial.
Soon after, he's slumped in a plane seat as his parents hector him about not being married, not presenting them with the grandchildren they long for, etc. There Ravi was "with my parents. A Patel family selfie, with actor Ravi clockwise from leftparents Champa and Visant, and sister Geeta. Courtesy of Alchemy hide caption toggle caption Courtesy of Alchemy A Patel family selfie, with actor Ravi clockwise from leftparents Champa and Visant, and sister Geeta.
Courtesy of Alchemy Geeta, a filmmaker, had recently finished a documentary project. She had brought along a camera purely to shoot family footage on the trip. But watching the exchange Ravi was having with their parents, her filmmaker's instinct kicked in, as did the natural inclination of a big sister to torture her younger sibling.
My brother is, like, hilariously suffering right now — let's film it! Geeta followed Ravi around, chronicling his attempts to find a woman both he and his parents could love. After agreeing to see if his parents' way to find The One might work better than his own, Ravi began a dating odyssey.
It took him cross-town, crosscountry, out of the country and even to an annual Patel matrimonial convention in Baltimore, designed to introduce young single Patels to each other in the hopes that they'll decide to date, maybe even marry. Remember, back home, Patels marry Patels, right? Geeta, a petite woman with a quick laugh and huge eyes, admits that as a student at Duke University, she went to a few of the conventions and returned to school without ever mentioning where she'd been.
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For one thing, the purposefulness of the Patel conventions was so opposite the cherished Western notion that love just finds you when it's time. Pretty in Pink, Pretty Woman, whatever. She could just hear the judgment: Her parents, her aunts and uncles, their friends, everyone she loved had arranged marriages — and they all worked.
Vasant Patel was getting a graduate degree in engineering when he returned home for a brief introduction to Champa Patel. They weren't together for more than 10 minutes, but she agreed to marry him.
Both fervently believe in having the people who know you best help you find your true love. 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.
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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.
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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. Ask lots of questions. Learn as much as you can every step of the way, so you can understand the jobs of everyone you work with and when your agent, publicist, lawyers, etc.
Learning the business side is freedom. We discovered that the audience responded best to the comedy aspects and the feel-good tone of the movie, and we studied similar films in the same vein to discover how they marketed and distributed their films to discover how to get our film out there.
Ultimately, this is your film and your story. Tell the story through your lens, your point of view.
Is it surreal to fictionalize your own lives?