Netflix show on Indian matchmaker stokes debate on wedding culture

On Netflix’s “Indian Matchmaking,” marriage consultant Sima Taparia travels the world to meet with hopeful clients and help them find the perfect match for an arranged marriage. The format of the show is simple. Hopeful brides- and grooms-to-be meet with Taparia — often with their overbearing parents in tow — for an initial consultation. Criteria are laid out, potential suitors are presented on paper, dates are arranged, and then it’s up to the couple to decide if it’s a match. In some respects, the producers should be commended. This is a show that turns away from the “big fat Indian wedding” trope and offers something fresh: a look at how some traditional-facing couples meet through the services of a professional matchmaker. The characters’ stories — as well as cringier moments — play out in entertaining ways, at times revealing the absurdities and awkwardness of matchmaking. I laughed when, for example, Taparia sought the consultation of an astrologist and a face reader. Matchmaker Sima Taparia meets with hopeful clients.

Indian Matchmaking

Sima Taparia is like a human Hinge algorithm. Card system, except instead of dueling, the players must get drinks with one another. Like all good bad reality dating shows such as recent Netflix hits Love Is Blind and Too Hot To Handle , the dates are largely cringey to watch, and there is ghosting, awkwardness, and family drama. Oh my!

Indian Matchmaking unpacks only selectively what an upper-class, upper-caste Indian marriage entails. It’s no coincidence that both the desi.

We all deserve happiness, and for many, finding a romantic “happily ever after” is part of that dream. That desire is what makes checking horoscopes a harmless guilty pleasure, romantic comedies a popular genre, and romance novels a summer staple. And many people of Indian ancestry, including me, were truly excited to see cultural representation via Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking , because Indian girls dream about their own weddings, too.

Set partially in India and partially in the United States, this eight-episode reality series is centered around “motivated” matchmaker Sima Taparia, whose self-proclaimed destiny is to find suitable matches for eligible young Indians. As a concept, Indian Matchmaking idealizes an important life event, marriage, promising that familial approval of a spouse will provide lifelong happiness. It recommends one matchmaker, advocating that such a concierge service greatly improves one’s chances of finding a compatible partner.

Clips of couples united via arranged marriages many of whom are celebrating decades of marital bliss attempt to legitimize and build viewer confidence in the show. Some viewers say Indian Matchmaking shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as evidenced by the eruption of memed moments on social media. Some find comfort in familiar conversations about yoga, chai rituals, and Bollywood dancing. Others are fascinated by the exotified, modernized religious and cultural rituals the NASA engineer who appears as one cast members’ astrologer and gemologist, Taparia’s complex relationship with spirituality, face-reading astrologers, Pradhyuman Maloo’s family altar and its lavishly detailed religious wardrobe, etc.

Those who love the show have likely not seen the ugly side of matchmaking or been at the receiving end of soul-crushing rejection and unfiltered critique. But for some Indian women, including myself, the damage was done the minute the show hit Netflix. I agonized over it, but included my own experiences with arranged marriages, matchmaking, and the complexities of an Indian marriage, as well as the generational trauma of tense family relationships, in my biofiction, Ten Thousand Tongues: Secrets of a Layered Kitchen.

Through Indian Matchmaking , director Smriti Mundhra and Netflix have recklessly chosen to erase all the emotional work and healing that scores of Indian women like myself all over the world committed themselves to after enduring the sham that is matchmaking in their own lives.

Commentary: What Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’ doesn’t tell you about arranged marriage

And of course I have. I really cannot stress this enough: Agrabah is not a real place! The genre, after all, encapsulates so much of the human condition, from its elegant docuseries to the shows where women throw wine at each other while their husbands mutter anti-gay slurs in the background. High art! A well-lit, well-produced, empathetic docuseries, it follows matchmaker Sima Taparia as she tries to set up Indians both in India and the US for arranged marriages.

But both series have felt unsatisfying to me.

Even Indian Matchmaking features at least three story lines about divorce, although the show is clear that leaving a marriage still carries stigma.

This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. I grew up always expecting an arranged marriage. Several happy couples I knew were introduced by their families, and my own Pakistani parents met for the first time on their wedding day. But when the time came, my brief foray into the world of desi matchmaking left me so frustrated, I swore off the practice completely. There, I had made an offhand comment about being an introvert which ended up twisted in the wrong way.

The true horror? Fortunately, I turned to online dating and found my amazing husband on the Muslim version of Tinder. I preferred being able to develop a relationship in privacy rather than having our families dissect every word we said to each other. Instead, I finished hate-watching the show more frustrated than ever. Much has been written about how the series lays bare some of the most harmful aspects of arranged marriage, but does nothing to challenge them.

After a strong backlash, several other viewers have come out in defence of the series, arguing that it exposes the culture around Indian matchmaking, presenting it unflinchingly for what it is, no holds barred.

Which Couples From ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Are Still Together In 2020?

Matchmaker Sima Taparia guides clients in the U. Sima meets three unlucky-in-love clients: a stubborn Houston lawyer, a picky Mumbai bachelor and a misunderstood Morris Plains, N. Friends and family get honest with Pradhyuman.

As a concept, Indian Matchmaking idealizes an important life event, marriage, promising that familial approval of a spouse will provide lifelong.

By Sajmun Sachdev August 11, But while I was celebrating what I found to be a super authentic look into the world of matchmaking, arranged marriages and Indian family dynamics, many reviewers and tweeters made me realize that I may be the only South Asian woman who was. So seeing that representation in Indian Matchmaking made me feel proud: Finally an Indian filmmaker had accomplished what we got into this industry to do: She put us on TV.

Indian Matchmaking could never be everything to everybody and still be the success it is. She is, simply, a stereotypical aunty. A divorced woman is a failure. Like the criticisms of Taparia, several people online were unhappy with the traits the participants prioritized when looking for their partners. For example, Ankita is dark-skinned; coupled with the fact she has modern viewpoints, she therefore only receives one match.

Skin lightening creams are a billion-dollar business in India, Asia and Africa. Critics, and even some of my friends, found them to be stereotypical and ugh-inducing Indian parents, their worst qualities reminding people of their own fathers and mothers. But I found their familiarity exciting, because I knew these people.

Why Does “Indian Matchmaking” Make My Culture Seem So Burdensome?

Sushmita Pathak. Is it a match? A potential couple meet up courtesy of a matchmaker in the Netflix series Indian Matchmaking.

The series also features interviews with happily married couples who came together through an arranged marriage and aims to highlight how an.

The streaming service’s latest dating docuseries, Indian Matchmaking , however, takes a completely different turn away from testing out social experiments to creating lifelong relationships. The show follows matchmaker Sima Taparia as she helps South Asian singles and their families navigate love with the help of face readers, astrologers, and life coaches. Series creator Smriti Mundhra said that the show originally reached out to all of Taparia’s clients to see who would be interested in filming their experience, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Twelve people initially agreed, but after six months of filming, only eight participants made the final cut. If you’re a fan who’s already binge-watched the whole first season, then you know pretty much every episode ends with a cliffhanger hinting at a participant finding their match in matrimony. The show also sheds light on just how intense matchmaking can be for certain families. Akshay Jakhete, for example, was kinda-totally bullied by his mom into choosing a bride, to the point where she blamed him for his brother not yet having a baby and for her rising blood pressure.

So did they actually find true love?

Netflix’s “Indian Matchmaking” Tells Women to Compromise. I Refused to Do That.

Every reality show has at least one villain. As Sima and the show itself frequently remind us, arranged marriage is not quite the form of social control it used to be; everyone here emphasizes that they have the right to choose or refuse the matches presented to them. But as becomes especially clear when Sima works in India, that choice is frequently and rather roughly pressured by an anvil of social expectations and family duty.

familiar with Indian matchmaking, matchmakers like Sima are typically compensated between two to five percent of the wedding costs, which.

Follow Us. The controversial Netflix show has reignited debate over traditional marriage matches, but without interrogating harmful stereotypes, says Meehika Barua. One evening in late November when I was heading for a meeting in Holborn, my Indian friend, who is 25, texted me to say that she was getting married. Trains went by as I stood at London Bridge station, typing furiously, glaring at my phone.

The arranged marriage had been fixed up by her parents. She had met the guy, liked him, and so, they agreed to get married. Instead of congratulating her, I tried to counsel her. Read More. This exchange will be familiar to a lot of Indian women.

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