Independent Lens: Meet the Patels

About This Episode


Fresh out of a breakup with the girlfriend his parents didn't know existed and freaked out that he’s still single at almost 30, Ravi travels on a family vacation to India, open minded about finding love in a traditional way. But there’s a catch: Patels marry other Patels, meaning they are from the same 50-square mile radius in India. Ravi plunges into the foolproof Patel matchmaking system, embarking on a worldwide search for the perfect American Patel woman.

Ravi’s matchmaker mother Champa and advice-spouting father Vasant, who decided to marry within ten minutes of meeting and have been happy for 35 years, steer their son’s love life through a system that has brought happiness into the lives of all of his cousins. Over the course of a year, Ravi is sent on a whirlwind of dates across the U.S. and Canada via the “biodating” system, a chain of weddings, online matrimonial websites, and even the Patel Matrimonial Convention.

Meet the Patels explores the questions with which we all struggle: What makes a great, lasting marriage? What is love? How do we find it? And even then, how do we keep it?