A HIGHLIGHT of the London Indian Film Festival this year is Meet The Patels, a wry and witty, spoof comedy documentary about the perils of meeting the girl of your dreams.
The award-winning film, which has been delighting everyone on the festival circuit, sees eccentric Gujarati parents trying to find their commitment-shy son the perfect wife.
Eastern Eye caught up with joint directors and brother-sister duo Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel to find out more.
When did you first get connected to cinema? Ravi Patel (RP): I remember loving Howard The Duck. I was also a huge fan of Duck Tales, which is a half-hour TV show, but cinematic in a way. I guess my love for cinema grew out of my love for personified ducks.
Geeta Patel (GP): I’m so sorry. He’s always like this. I would say we got exposed to Bollywood films first, probably why we’re both hopeless romantics!
Tell us about Meet The Patels? RP: It’s a love triangle between me, my parents and the girl of my dreams. GP: And I’m filming it all because it started out as our family vacation video.
RP: Kinda like My Big Fat Greek Wedding except everything is really happening.
GP: Ravi had a secret white girlfriend who mom and dad knew nothing about, and in our family, nobody had married outside the last name Patel.
Our family is crazy, nuts, hilarious. We were going through this really difficult time and it was showing up in our vacation video.
RP: When we showed this home video to some friends, they were dying laughing. What was the biggest challenge of making the film? RP: Working with my sister.
GP: Working with my brother. Do you have a favourite scene in the movie? RP: I like the part when it ends and I’m not in a documentary about myself any more.
GP: Drinking wine with mom and dad in the kitchen. I can’t believe the whole world is gonna watch that footage. Are you looking forward to the London Indian Film Festival screening your film? RP: I’m so pumped.
I did a semester at LSE [London School of Economics] and tended bar in Leicester Square, so London has a very special place in my heart.
GP: It feels like home. We went to London for test screenings when we were making the film. It was awesome and a really defining time for us. How important is a festival like thisfor films like yours?
RP: The festivals put this film on the map. It was rejected by every major festival, then we finally got one and the film pretty much became a hit overnight.
GP: Yeah, the audiences went crazy, telling their friends about it, voting it for audience awards and then the film finally got distribution after a year of sold-out shows.
RP: Without the festival audiences, this film would be collecting dust in my closet. What makes for good cinema? RP: Good cinema makes you feel.
GP: Yeah, it stays with you, gets into your system, affects the way you live your life.
RP: And hopefully makes you a better person. GP: Rav, you need to watch more cinema.
See www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk for Meet The Patels screening times.