I finished watching Indian Matchmaking on Netflix, and boy, do I have stuff to say! Since the day this Netflix Original Series was released, all of social media was swamped with memes & videos about it. I tried my best to avoid reading any of that because I wanted to watch it with an open mind. Now that I’m all caught up with this eight episode Documentary Style Reality TV Series, here’s an honest review about it. The series doesn’t call out issues that plague our societal mindset, rather, it simply presents them as facts of life. It’s undoubtedly a cringefest. However, the things that make it an uncomfortable watch, aren’t just the poor camera angles & shoddy editing, but the fact that this is our reality.
To give you a gist, Indian Matchmaking is a television documentary series on Netflix, which follows the interaction of Indian matchmaker, Sima Taparia from Mumbai, with a few of her clients in India & the United States of America. The series begins with a desperate Indian mother, Preeti, in Mumbai, expressing her frustration to Sima about her son, Akshay, not displaying an interest in marriage. We’re then introduced to Aparna & Nadia, from the States, two contrasting personalities & backgrounds, who are also looking to get married, and Pradyuman from Mumbai, whose family believes it’s high time he found a wife. It eventually also introduces us to a more diverse bunch of individuals, Vyasar, Ankita & Rupam, who according to me, felt like the most real people in the series.
Aparna, an attorney from Houston, comes across as a strong, successful woman; seems to know exactly what she wants, and more importantly, what she doesn’t want. Apparently, such a woman is the hardest candidate to match in Indian arranged marriages, or so Sima says. Sima brings her one match at a time because from the get go, she’s convinced that giving this opinionated woman too many choices won’t bode well with her. As we see Aparna meet guys and reject them because she knows they’re just not the right fit, we see Sima getting more frustrated with her and deeming her as stubborn on more accounts than one. She even suggests she consult an astrologer since her stars may not be in her favour. So it seems, for strong women, the only solution is celestial intervention.
In contrast to that, we meet Pradyuman, a 30 years old jewellery designer from Mumbai, whose biggest criteria is to find a person who’s attractive. Claiming that he appreciates the finer things in life, this seemingly pretentious butthole of a man, who apparently loves to travel, but finds Hyderabad really far away, seems to have rejected over 150 girls. Even so, we see Sima not being too flustered about the fact that he doesn’t even respond to her often, by justifying that he has high standards. I smell patriarchy. It’s only when Sima tells him to speak to a life coach, does Pradyuman stop to consider the value he too brings to the table. However, this doesn’t do much to better this asshat’s superficial personality. Additionally, in a recent interview with Dolly Singh on Netflix India’s YouTube Channel, this dude went ahead to compare human attraction to buying a mobile phone based on how it looks. My friend, you also tend to upgrade your phone when there’s a better one available. Is that what you’re planning on doing with your wife? His arc finally ends with a date when Sima introduces Pradyuman to a model, his reaction to which is, “Why didn’t Sima aunty show SOMETHING like this to me before?” Tell me if you too think that sounds like the cringiest thing you’ve heard.
One of my favourite characters, who I resonated the most with, was the entrepreneur, Ankita, whose values were too “modern” for Sima’s clientele. Ankita, a feminist, also knew what she wanted in her man. I loved it when her mother said that this generation is rebellious, to which her father’s response was, “or what we consider rebellious.” Infact, I think that was my favourite moment from the series. What was yours? Let me know in the comments. Coming back to Ankita, because of her non-traditional values, Sima introduced Ankita to her colleague, Geeta, who apparently deals with a more modern set of clients. Geeta came across, initially, as a more evolved matchmaker who truly understood the new generation, but, sadly, quickly turned into a regressive, narrow minded, crone, who reeked of patriarchy. She began preaching to Ankita about how she must compromise, a theme for some reason very casually thrown around while speaking about Indian Matchmaking.
Now, let’s talk about Akshay. Recently, in an interview with Dolly Singh on Netflix India’s YouTube channel, Akshay implied that a lot of scenes with him and his mother were taken out of context by the viewers. Pardon me for seeing through your BS, Akshay, but it seemed like you have no personality. Either that, or this show, too, was 100% scripted. In one of the scenes, Preeti, Akshay’s mom, is legit seen giving her son an ultimatum about getting married by next year, because him being unmarried is apparently screwing up his brother’s family planning timeline. Note for this generation, your sibling’s family planning should have nothing whatsoever to do with your timeline. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise! Also, wanting your partner to have certain qualities you’ve seen in your parents is natural; claiming you want someone exactly like your mom, though, is the Oedipus Complex speaking. Sorry to burst your bubble, bruh. When Akshay finally does find a match after rejecting over 50 – 70 matches, the meeting was the most awkward thing I watched on the show. I felt like telling the girl who’s studying to be a chartered accountant to run in the opposite direction. Spoiler alert, even though they show Akshay and Radhika getting engaged, luckily, for everyone involved, they called it off.
Without getting into excruciating detail about the characters themselves, one of the few things that caught my attention, was the humongous difference in the male characters based in India versus those in the States. The quality of conversation aside, even their personalities displayed a stark difference. While the guys in India seemed to be more confused about what they wanted, and more governed by their family’s choices for them, we see most of the men in the States be more clear minded and self-made, if I may say so. You also see the stark difference with which Sima seems to approach her female clients as opposed to her male ones.
To sum it up, I wish I could say, don’t hate the players, hate the game, but Indian Matchmaking, the series, does bring out some of the best and worst characters of the game. Having said that, I think it’s safe to say that not everything is bad with the series. You’re introduced to some wonderful people like Vyasar, Rupam, Rashi & Ankita. I also liked the fact that the series has covered the story of a divorcee, who seemingly finds happiness outside the whole arranged marriage game- Bumble! All in all, Indian Matchmaking is no big deal, but if you’re in the mood to watch some reality TV, watch this series on Netflix at your own peril & tell me how it was! If you already have, let me know what you think of it, in the comments below!