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Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’? It isn’t so different from modern British dating…

Coronavirus: How Covid has changed the ‘big fat Indian wedding’. India’s richest family caps year of big fat weddings. A new Netflix show, Indian Matchmaking, has created a huge buzz in India, but many can’t seem to agree if it is regressive and cringe-worthy or honest and realistic, writes the BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi. The eight-part docuseries features elite Indian matchmaker Sima Taparia as she goes about trying to find suitable matches for her wealthy clients in India and the US.

Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking‘? It isn’t so different from modern British dating It reminds me of my parents’ arranged marriage.

Two weeks ago Netflix debuted Indian Matchmaking , an eight-episode documentary series that follows Sima Taparia a matchmaker from Mumbai on her quest to find the perfect partner for a mix of South Asian people, both in India and in the U. While entertaining in parts, the show proved to be pretty triggering in a lot of ways.

As a first-generation Indian girl who grew up in the U. Anaa: Oh my God. All the time, are you kidding me? Do you know anyone? Have you met someone? Anaa: I feel Indian Matchmaking has showcased how transactionally marriage is viewed. For me, marriage is just something that… When it happens, it happens. Jasmin: Have you had that conversation with your family?

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Indian Matchmaking is a Indian documentary television series produced by Smriti After Life · Another Life · Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show · Black Summer · Bonding · Criminal: UK · The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance · Dead to Me.

I was on the phone with my mother, who lives in Pune, India, complaining about Indian Matchmaking , when she brought up the marriage proposal. I knew she agreed. I scoffed. But watch Indian Matchmaking , and you may end the eight-episode arc of the smartly edited, highly bingeable show with a misleading idea of how arranged marriages actually work. The Netflix reality show follows Sima Taparia, a matchmaker from Mumbai whose pen-and-paper spreadsheets of potential suitors is far from the most outdated thing about her.

She flies back and forth between the U. Women need to cook. Men need to provide. Most women who hire Taparia on Indian Matchmaking are accomplished professionals with hobbies and a social life. And every one of them is told to compromise and adjust expectations. To western audiences, the show depicts a “progressive” style of matchmaking that is much more palatable than the sometimes viciously misogynist and purely transactional matchmaking practiced among most Indians.

But what becomes clear while watching the show is that while the means of matchmaking have been updated, the system itself remains brutal for the women involved. Perhaps not physically so, like it is for so many Indian women and girls, but certainly mentally and emotionally.

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So here we all are, back in the dole queue again. Of my closest friends, three have gone from furlough to redundancy, one is in tense maternity-leave limbo, and the rest — myself included — are freelancers on vastly reduced incomes. Deep breath. Onwards and upwards. Looking for work can be a lot like looking for love. Better to save all that CV-writing energy, then.

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Indian Matchmaking

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The eight-episode series was created by Oscar-nominated director Smriti Mundhra, and documents Sima Auntie trying to find perfect spouses for six different clients. However, the show has attracted mixed reviews, with some accusing it of glorifying colourism and casteism, whilst white-washing the arranged marriage tradition. At just 25 years old, Akshay Jakhete is a graduate who is in no hurry to get married — although his mother Preeti has different ideas.

In fact, all of the cast-members are still looking for love — except for divorced single mum Rupam. To walk away with three people you can relate to, and who are good and kind and grounded, is a success in my book. Similarly, for Nadia, after the show ended, it was clear any on-screen chemistry was ill-fated to last.

I was on the phone with my mother, who lives in Pune, India, complaining about Indian Matchmaking, when she brought up the marriage.

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 centred around “motivated” matchmaker Sima Taparia, whose self-proclaimed destiny is to find suitable matches for eligible young Indians. As a concept, Indian Matchmaking idealises 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 improve ones’ chances of finding a compatible partner.

Clips of couples united via arranged marriages many of whom are celebrating decades of marital bliss attempt to legitimise and build viewer confidence in the show. Some viewers say Indian Matchmaking shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as evidenced by the eruption of meme-ed moments on social media. Some find comfort in familiar conversations about yoga, chai rituals, and Bollywood dancing.

‘Indian Matchmaking’ might be controversial but it’s helping Netflix in battle for India

The second I saw Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking come up on my TV’s home screen, I excitedly texted a bunch of my Desi friends to see if they’d heard anything about it. I’m not saying that there weren’t any stereotypes that caught me off guard on the show like some of the character’s fake accents or the opening scene where Devi’s praying over a book for good grades , but there were some moments that really hit home for me in the coming-of-age comedy. While I was excited to see something related to the Indian culture get the spotlight yet again, it sort of felt like a personal secret was about to be exposed to the world.

I was a little worried how Indians would be portrayed, especially to people who aren’t familiar with a culture where arranged marriages are considered the norm. Would the show go into complexities and nuances that come with matchmaking?

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I can give her…95 marks out of It is reflective, sometimes painfully, of a custom with which we are all too familiar: arranged marriages. For desis, either your parents were arranged or you know a couple that was. Some people—yep, even millennials—willingly enter into arranged marriages, as seen on the new reality show. While the show portrays arranged marriages in a positive although at times, vulnerable light, it simultaneously showcases the problems plaguing the ancient tradition—problems that Netflix account holders across America were quick to point out.

The casual, rampant racism on IndianMatchmaking is wild, and I fear fair will fly right over the heads of all the white people watching. The super-popular show has garnered criticism for its messages of colorism , classism, and body-shaming. I mean, take your pick. So why are brown people, like myself, forced to answer for a cultural institution I played no part in creating? The uncomfortable truth is that while these shows perpetuate equally harmful ideas about love and marriage, Indian Matchmaking confirms biases against Indian cultures, making it easier to criticize.

No one looks at Western reality shows as representative of white, American dating culture. So why do people think Indian Matchmaking is representative of dating and relationships for all brown people?

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