Sophomore recalls part in family’s movie

When sophomore Medha Patel’s aunt, Geeta Patel, brought her big video camera into their family reunion back when Medha was 10, little did she know that she would be in a documentary that would go on to win several awards in big film festivals including the Los Angeles Film Festival.

“My Aunt Geeta told us that she was shooting a movie, and everyone knew she was a director and going to be doing that. I didn’t think I was going to be put in the movie, but then I was a part of it which was so fun,” Medha Patel said.

The 2015 documentary film “Meet the Patels,” directed by Geeta Patel and her brother Ravi Patel, is about Ravi Patel trying to find a wife while dealing which the pressures of a Indian family. Arranged marriages are common in Indian culture, and usually people are pushed to marry into a family with the same name — for example Patel, a very common Indian name.

According to the newspaper, The Times of India, there are more than 1,450,000 people with the name Patel in the United States. “Since we all have the same last name, it’s like ‘Oh, here you can have a discount on this,’ when you meet another Patel because most people with the last name Patel own some type of convenience store or hotel. They usually give us a discount, so the stereotype of this is actually true,” Medha said.

The main character of this film, Ravi, is on his quest to find a wife. He is secretly in love with a fiery red-haired American woman, someone he knows his parents would not approve. Ravi turns to online dating, Indian marriage conventions and dozens of dates around the country with women hand-picked by his parents. Finding this “perfect Indian wife” proves to be a hard task when the arranged marriage process feels forced for Ravi.

As plot of the film ends, Ravi still without a wife, his parents slowly accept his red-haired girlfriend, but things have changed since then.

“He got married to another woman. Her name is Mahaley, and she is the best. She isn’t Indian, but it’s totally OK. I went to their wedding last May, and they are really happy with a new baby girl now,” Medha said.  “We were all very happy when he got married because we thought it was never going to happen. He made what we thought was never going to happen come true.”

Since the documentary was made, Ravi has worked with actors like John Stamos in the movie “Grandfathered.” Many people will recognize him from “Master of None,” the Netflix comedy series starring Aziz Ansari. In fact, Medha was close to meeting Ansari at Ravi’s wedding.

“I was too scared to meet Aziz Ansari, so I just stood there and looked in awe, but I met Holland Roden from the show “Teen Wolf” and cried. It’s awesome to have an uncle like Ravi. He knows a lot of celebrities like John Stamos, which is so cool. I will definitely use him as an advantage to meet other cool people when I am older,” Medha said.

Medha is likely to not encounter the same match-making difficulties that her Uncle Ravi experienced.

“I think that it is important to continue my culture. I know my parents would like me to marry an Indian man, but they just want me to marry someone that is good to me. They do not care about if he is Indian or not.” Medha said.

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