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‘Meet the Patels’: In search of a desi bride

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By Arun Kumar

Washington: It all began when Ravi Patel, a 30-year-old Indian-American investment banker turned Hollywood actor, pestered by his parents on a long flight to India to get married, agreed to search for his bride the ‘desi’ way.

And Ravi’s sister Geeta, just out of making a war zone documentary about Kashmir, now learning to handle the camera, started filming “half seriously” the “family affair” to find a desi partner for Ravi, who had just broken up with his white girlfriend of two years.

How what began as a family vacation video eventually turned into a hilarious romantic documentary about arranged marriages is an equally heartbreaking story as the sibling co-directors of ‘Meet the Patels’ relate it.

source: vanity fair
Ravi and Geeta Patel source: vanity fair

“When we got to India, Ravi realised that what he was going through is what so many people have gone through,” the duo told IANS on phone ahead of its Friday release in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. It opens in additional US markets including Washington DC, Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Detroit, and Tampa on Sep 18.

“He felt so many people were living that story and yet no one had told it properly,” said Geeta who was equally under parental pressure to get married.

Many a film and media shows “depict arranged marriages and semi-arranged marriages in Indian culture more like a joke – like parents are weird, that kind of thing”.

“We didn’t see it that way. We felt like our parents (married through this ‘desi’ system) were the happiest people we knew,” Geeta said. “We were kind of torn because we wanted that happiness, but we didn’t know what process was really good for us to get there.”

The conversion of the home video into a documentary “just happened by accident,” said Ravi.

“It was just kind of natural evolution” with “Mom and Dad breathing down our necks as if a billion people in India care as much as they do about why we are not married.”

But despite some shaky camera work, they never thought of reshooting the film. “The documentary is so authentic and real, what happened at the moment,” according to them.

“The only stuff that we put a lot of effort was in producing animated moments,” said Ravi.

“The animation came essentially from the fact that we were making this film about our family,” added Geeta.

“In reality TV, when somebody is emotional, they just film it. But for us it’s just disrespectful to film our family going through a very difficult moment.”

But how come their parents did not appear camera conscious at all. “I know that’s crazy, right. It was so natural,” said Ravi.

“Part of it is that they never thought this project would really amount to anything – partially because of the casual way we were shooting it.”

The brother and sister team spent six years in making the film and at the end of it “nobody wanted it.” What kept them going was “Pride,” said Ravi.

“I believed in it. Even if no body watches it, I am going to be proud that I made something I like and that mattered to me.”

“We both believed in it,” chipped in Geeta.

And it was “hard, very hard” working together, said Ravi. “You know with people you love, you tend to be most vulnerable and sometimes the least
respectful and least filtered.”

“Geeta and I have all our crazy fits. But when you are working with your sister you can’t fire her. So you have to find a way to keep it going and make it work.”

“We have to make a commitment,” added Geeta. “As dad says in the movie, life is a commitment.” And after all the fights and disagreements “we have this incredible relationship we would never have dreamed of.”

So what comes next? Are they planning another joint venture on one more desi issue?

“Geeta and I are working on some projects together – some pretty exciting stuff,” said Ravi though he would not say what it was.

“I don’t think I would have chosen to work with her if you had asked me even a year ago,” he said. “But it’s a testament to the story that our family is a million times more together.”

“Geeta and I decided to work together more. Mom and Dad are a part of the company now. My Dad works on this movie 10 hours a day to get every Indian in America marketing this movie.”

“And Mom got every motel owner in America putting up pamphlets. It has become a Patel family business.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

-IANS

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I’m Not Going To Change My Personality After Marriage: Ranveer Singh

He says he has not toned down

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Ranveer Singh
Ranveer Singh. Flickr

Actor Ranveer Singh will not change his personality after his marriage to Deepika Padukone, and says he doesn’t want his wife and actress to change herself either.

Deepika and Ranveer got married in Italy last month.

“Marriage is like the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel some kind of magic, some kind of power, it’s like I’m invincible. You know in those superhero movies, you know that moment when the suit comes on. I feel like marriage has done that to me,” Ranveer Singh said during a session at Times Network’s India Economic Conclave 2018.

He says getting married makes him feel “grounded, feel secure”.

“I’m really loving it. It has only been about 10-15 days now but it’s so nice, it’s so lovely. I would highly recommend it to the entire young population of the country. Take it from me, it’s great,” added the actor, who was present at the fifth edition of the conclave to talk about new age role models.

deepika Padukone
Ranveer and Deepika got married in Italy last month.

Asked whether the couple is planning to expand the family, he said: “It’s not my call really. I mean partly it is, but mostly it’s just her.”

“I allow her to make most of the decisions because she is just better at everything. I have no qualms in accepting that she is a much more evolved, a much more mature person than me. Of course I love her, but I respect and admire her for everything that she has achieved. She is a much greater person than me. She has achieved a lot more than me,” he added.

He says he has not toned down.

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“Did you see what I was wearing for my wedding? I was wearing a leopard on my shoulder for one of the events. A leopard who had green lasers coming out of his eyes! How is that toned down? It was hot pink. Manish Arora made it especially for me. He is my spirit designer, and he’s really out there.

“I don’t think I’m going to tone down or change who I am just because now I’m married which leads me into the next part of my answer that if it happens, I’m not going to filter it. I’m just going to allow it to happen if it happens naturally.” (IANS)