In the world of the documentary there has likely been no subject that has been the focus. The latest Meet the Patels directed by the brother and sister team of Greeta and Ravi Patel. Being an actor in the industry and currently starring on the hit series Grandfathered, Ravi Patel already has a familiar place in the film business, but could this real life story following his relationship struggles manage to bring something new to the table or will it be an arrangement we can do without?
Meet the Patels follows Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who enters a love triangle between the woman of his dreams…and his parents. Where this could have easily fallen into the generic category the direction of the story merging a sense of romance along with culture and humor made it so much more. The Patel’s have crafted a great story that manages to take you not only on Ravi’s journey through the ups and downs of his relationship situation it serves as a bit of a culture history piece as well. What works so great is that it never tries to be anything more than it is. They keep the focus on telling his story using footage they have shot on a family trip to India as well as home movies and a great decision to animate the injecting storytelling narrative. The animation is in black and white, but they have some great character design and look that would work great as a series all its own. There are some really great moments here with their family who all have great personalities and are so great on screen you might think they are acting. The story itself is pretty simple, but coupled with the culture that comes into play it makes more than just a love story. For those that have always wondered how the world of arranged marriage works this serves up the perfect story to let you directly in on this world while seeing him go through the process. With all of the things in play here the film is centered firmly on Ravi’s struggle with finding the love he thinks he wants while discovering more about himself than he ever realized.
In the end this isn’t an unfamiliar story, but told in such a great and unique way it feels fresh and new. We have all been in a situation involving a relationship and the struggles of making it public knowledge, but when you are in an Indian family they are all involved whether you want them too or not. Whether you care about romantic comedies or culture history this film still manages to deliver something that will appeal to everyone on every level. Check out Meet the Patels when it hits DVD on January 26th and currently available On Demand, and SVOD now.