Unless You’re Brown, ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Is Not Yours to Criticize

The show follows the journey of a Mumbai-based matchmaker who arranges marriage alliances between wealthy families in India and the US. What is disconcerting is not simply the easy acceptance of social conservatism by the young and elderly, not the least by Indian diaspora in the United States. What stands out for Indians is the importance of marital status. Arranged marriages, the norm in India, are tightly bound within the caste of the bride and groom. In crude forms like matrimonial websites, caste preferences are the main criteria, followed by physical appearance and salary potential. In covert forms, even individuals who choose their own partners, tend to self-censor their options within their own community and class. The focus on similar social background or family compatibility points in the direction of caste that governs our decisions — who we socialise with, who we hire, where we live, and who we marry. The notion of arranged marriage has long been considered intrinsic to Indian culture.

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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.

In the most extreme case, a year-old prospective groom named Akshay Jakhete is practically bullied by his mother, Preeti, into choosing a bride. Indian Matchmaking smartly reclaims and updates the arranged marriage myth for the 21st century, demystifying the process and revealing how much romance and heartache is baked into the process even when older adults are meddling every step of the way. Though these families use a matchmaker, the matching process is one the entire community and culture is invested in.

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Indian Matchmaking, a new Netflix series, follows Taparia, 57, from Maharashtra, India, to Texas, New Jersey and beyond as she tries to find.

It follows professional matchmaker Sima Taparia as she tries to connect Indian singles both in India and the United States. Some people are calling it binge-worthy, while others call it offensive. Kalita says the show provides an accurate depiction of matchmaking in Indian society. They want someone who works but who doesn’t work too hard, right? They want someone who’s ambitious but not too ambitious.

Kalita says the show holds the lens up to Indian society, revealing some traditional and arguably shallow things people seek in mates.

Inside Netflix’s eye-opening look at arranged marriage, your next reality TV obsession

Skip navigation! Story from Best of Netflix. I do not typically spend time watching reality TV , which might surprise some considering I was once on a reality show. Given my own experience and ethnic background, I wanted to love the show and be supportive, but to me the series fell flat and overly simplified and stereotyped what it means to be Indian. Although the couples Sima fixes up are not forced to marry, the end goal of matchmaking is that, after a few dates, the people involved will commit to an eventual engagement or Roka.

After having a Roka, the couple can plan their nuptials on their own timeline and get to know each other more.

Indian Matchmaking is a Indian documentary television series produced by Smriti India; United Kingdom; United States. Original language(s). English.

Indian Matchmaking is a Indian documentary television series produced by Smriti Mundhra. Indian Matchmaking was released on July 16, , on Netflix. Mundhra named the casting the biggest hurdle of the show, going through a client list of families and calling to see if they were willing to be on camera. Mundhra also noted that the series initially started with about a dozen singles but with some that “fell off” during production.

The show received mixed reviews between critics and social media users. In addition to showing ” classist ” and ” casteist ” stereotypes, the show was criticized for whitewashing the idea of arranged marriages. The Los Angeles Times followed up with the couples appearing on the show and reported that they are not together anymore.

Chicago lawyer talks life after Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’

Five years ago, I met with a matchmaker. I went in scornful. Like many of my progressive South Asian peers, I denounced arranged marriage as offensive and regressive.

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The notion of teaching them to adjust is at the crux of her process, as she works with entire families to find the right partner for their would-be brides and grooms. In some ways, the show is a modern take on arranged marriage, with contemporary dating horrors like ghosting and lacking the skills for a meet-up at an ax-throwing bar. But issues of casteism, colorism and sexism, which have long accompanied the practice of arranged marriage in India and the diaspora, arise throughout, giving viewers insight into more problematic aspects of Indian culture.

As an Indian-American girl growing up in Upstate New York, one part of my culture that was especially easy to brag about was weddings. They were joyful and colorful, and they looked more like a party than a stodgy ceremony. While living under the same roof in quarantine, my mom and I have had a lot of time to watch buzzy Netflix shows together. But I was hesitant to invite her to watch Indian Matchmaking with me, knowing her marriage to my dad was arranged.

Did she like the process? She shared with me some details of how her skin tone affected her life when she was growing up.

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Markets Media recently had an up, close and personal with Jasbina Ahluwalia , founder of Intersections Match by Jasbina who shared her perspective on matchmaking and more! As a former practicing lawyer holding a graduate degree in philosophy, Jasbina can relate first-hand to the demands and challenges facing her accomplished clients. Having found her special someone, Jasbina can also relate first-hand to the challenge of juggling professional, social, and personal demands.

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No one in my immediate family has had an arranged marriage, but I have many relatives who have. But I also know they rarely favor brides-to-be, expecting them to meet caste, color and body requirements as well as stereotypical gender roles. The show bills itself as exploring traditional Indian matchmaking practices in a modern world.

Taparia characterizes her role as a matchmaker as a conduit for the divine. But Taparia also laments the challenges of being a matchmaker in these modern times. They have full freedom and they bend little. So, how will things go smoothly? Like me, many of the prospective brides and grooms featured in the United States are the children of immigrants. They are turning to a traditional matchmaker after striking out on the dating scene. Vyasar Ganesan, a college guidance counselor at a high school in Austin, acknowledges that he was skeptical of arranged marriages for a long time, but is now open to trying this approach.

In contrast to all the technology and algorithms used in dating today, when applying her traditional Indian matchmaking practice to modern times, Taparia brings in a cadre of face readers, astrologers, relationship counselors and even other matchmakers to help in her efforts. Viewers are also introduced to many of the long-held biases that exist in Indian culture like casteism, colorism, gender expectations and body requirements. We see that when we meet Akshay Jakhete, the year-old scion of a wealthy family whose domineering mother is pressuring him to get married even as he rejects dozens of proposals.

He is matched with Radhika, a young woman from Udaipur, who tells him that she hopes to be a chartered accountant.

Indian matchmaking hit hard in era of distancing and coronavirus

You want to share your life with someone special. I had lived my life up until that point thinking that finding a life partner is something that would not take any effort — that it is something that would just happen. After hearing that, I contacted Jasbina myself.

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Reading it reminded him of a period in my life, my mids, when we were searching for a groom for me. I am a South Indian who grew up in Mumbai. But of course, I had to track it down. Since its release on July 16, Indian Matchmaking is all my Twitter stream can talk about. In the first episode, Taparia lays out the sociological context of the show for a Western audience: Arranged marriages are the norm in Indian society.

A marriage is a union between two families, not just the bride and groom. Families are heavily involved in the process. Even as matchmakers and families rarely bend on the caste, color, or status of prospective matches, they expect young women to let go of the few things that matter to them. My heart broke as I watched a supposedly progressive matchmaker warn Bansal, an entrepreneur with her own clothing line, that she should be ready to give up her career and relocate if her husband demanded it.

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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.

‘Indian Matchmaking‘ joins Netflix’s growing stable of dating shows like ‘Love Is Blind’ and ‘Too Hot to Handle’ while taking on arranged.

Now available to stream, the series follows Mumbai-based matchmaker Sima Taparia as she painstakingly works with singles and their families in India and America to find desirable mates for marriage. One client, New Jersey-based event planner Nadia, wonders if her Indian-ness will come into question because of her Guyanese heritage. With the global reach of Netflix, Mundhra saw an opportunity to present a look at dating and relationships through the very specific lens of the South Asian experience that would reach a wide audience.

That we have all sorts of different backgrounds, different ideals and ideologies. I think you can sort of learn a lot just from the examples and the specific journey of the participants. Mundhra ultimately met her now-husband in graduate school. There was this refreshing honesty about her, and absolute passion for what she does. Even as dating sites such as shaadi.

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