On Art! Geeta Patel Tackles Religion and Culture Through Film

Geeta V. Patel certainly isn’t the only person in Hollywood using the big screen to tackle serious issues. That she does this across genres, however, makes her stand out. The Indian-American writer, director, and producer has already made a documentary about the conflict in Kashmir, a romantic comedy about modern arranged marriage, and is currently working on a film that promises to change the face of action movies. She was also selected as one of 29 filmmakers to represent the United States abroad in a US State Department initiative in the arts.

In her 2008 documentary, Project Kashmir, Geeta deftly grappled with thorny issues like war, borders, and religion. She, along with a Pakistani-American friend, traveled to Kashmir to investigate the long-standing conflict between the Hindu-Kashmiris and the Muslim-Kashmiris. In the film they confront their conflicting personal perspectives about the conflict and attempt to foster dialogue between these two groups.

Geeta then inadvertently began filming a movie that looks at semi-arranged marriage. While she was fiddling around with a new video camera one day, Geeta’s recently-single brother, Ravi, wondered aloud whether the system that worked for their parents might also work for him. Thus, Meet the Patels was born, and follows Ravi’s journey through this process, which he embarks on with his parents and sister in tow. Despite being a romantic comedy, the film, currently on the film fest circuit, addresses universal questions about finding and keeping love.

Geeta’s latest project, an action movie called Mouse, not only introduces a new form of martial arts, but uses action to tell a story about love, freedom, and the incredible power of consciousness. And, perhaps most interestingly, Geeta says she is using the action movie genre to inspire nonviolence.

Looking forward to seeing what stories my friend of two decades tells next.

 

 

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