You can marry any Patel you like!
by Martin Hafer
In many ethnic groups around the world, there is a strong expectation by families that their children will marry within their own group. However, in the case of Meet the Patels, the push is much more specific. According to this documentary, not only do these Indian and Indian- American families want their kids to marry an Indian…but they specifically want them to marry within their religion and caste! So, basically a Patel is expected to marry a Patel–and all have their original roots in the Gujarat region in India. So, with about a billion Indians, most of them are off limits because they aren’t Patels. And as for everyone else, they are even more off limits! This necessitates either returning to India to look for a bride or finding another Patel living abroad.
This story is specifically about one of these folks and his journey to find a wife now that he’s nearing 30. The camera follows the guy to dating sites as well as dates across the United States. It all sounds really interesting, right? Well, unfortunately, it really isn’t. While it’s billed as documentary and a comedy, there isn’t a lot in the way of laughs and, most importantly, I never really cared about any of the folks in the film. This isn’t because I am not interested in Indians or Indian culture (I’ve watched several hundred Indian films and have written about my love for these films–which is unusual for the average American). I just didn’t find a compelling reason to care about this search–especially when the guy’s search seemed so superficial (for example, he discounted one lady because she was too fat–not that he was exactly Prince Charming). I did, however, like the little cartoon segments. There should have been more of them and they were cute…and cute and engaging is certainly what is missing from this film.
If you care — and I really cannot see why — the film has just come out on Netflix.