29-year-old Ravi Patel and his older sister, Geeta, are first generation Asian Indians. (In India, the last name Patel is like Smith in the US.) They are both single, which is upsetting their mother, Champa, and their father, Vasant. Champa is a renowned matchmaker back in India, but she can’t seem to get either one of her children hitched. Unbeknownst to his parents, Ravi had a two-year loving relationship with a red-headed Caucasian — Audrey — but decided to end their relationship (at least partly because he realized that marrying outside of his culture would be very difficult).
Ravi decides to let his parents help him find a mate via the tried-and-true, several-thousand-year-old Indian method, but with a few technological improvements. Since Ravi is an Actor while Geeta is a Director, they decide to film Ravi’s search for a mate. Ideally, Ravi should marry another Patel, but the Patels live in various sections of the USA and Canada. Ravi takes a road trip to meet possible spouses.
Although the movie shows brief clips of a few dates, the heart and soul of the film is about Ravi’s relationship with his parents, who want him to marry, have children and preserve their culture, but also want him to find someone he loves and be happy. It reveals the struggles of immigrants and their children to stay true to their heritage and identity while being open to American ideas and ways.
The film is often funny, but also, at times, poignant and profound. It drags in a few spots (primarily some of the dating scenes), but, on the whole, it’s a winner! I’d catch this sleeper before it leaves the theaters, but if you miss it, make sure to rent it later.
It’s one of my favorite documentaries of the year. I’m really glad I met the Patels.
P.S.: Rob and I saw this movie with our friends who are “Patels,” and they told us the film is “the way it is.”