Netflix’s latest reality show, Indian Matchmaking, brings the process of arranged marriages to the OTT platform, with Mumbai-based matchmaker Sima Taparia.
It certainly hits too close to home, highlighting the worst aspects of arranged marriage – a process that not only accepts, but even propagates, the ideas of colourism, sexism, and even casteism, turning marriage into a business proposition.
The show normalizes multiple problematic things, in the name of reality TV. Like these:
1. When Preeti demanded that the girl Sima picks for her son be 5″3 or above because ‘height’ is the secret behind loving marriages.
2. When Preeti defined her ideal daughter-in-law as flexible. Exactly the quality you look for in a bean bag.
3. When Sima’s answer to every question on marriage is, adjustment and compromise. Every single time. Literally.
This is the first thing that Sima says to Aparna, after Aparna shares what she expects from her life partner.
This is how Sima explains marriage to Vyasar, the first time she meets him.
4. When Sima judges Aparna for rejecting the first person she meets, even though Pradhyuman, who has rejected 150 girls, is just being ‘unsure’.
5. When Sima aunty took a leaf out of Preeti aunty’s vocabulary on the ‘ideal’ Indian girl. Even international gymnasts could not match the standards of Indian aunties.
6. When Sima deemed Aparna picky, after knowing her past, but Vyasar got the ‘golden child’ treatment.
Sima, after understanding Vyasar’s past:
Sima, after understanding Aparna’s past:
7. When every other person kept reiterating that there is a ‘right age’ to get married. SMH!
Akshay’s mom uses the Indian motivation tool 101 – comparison.
8. When Sima is hesitant to take on a client who is a divorcee and a single mother, exposing the illogical, yet deep-rooted, bias in our society against divorce and/or widows.
9. When Akshay’s criteria of his ideal partner is, and I quote, “exactly like mummy.”
*Ummmm researching Oedipus Complex*
10. When Akshay, finally, clarifies that his ideal woman is not someone like his mother, but rather, someone like a babysitter. Phew, at least we got that clarification.
11. When Nadia believes that the right reason to marry is that her friends are married.
And Pradhyuman backed the sentiment.
And Pradhyuman’s friends backed it too. Have none of them been asked this question as kids – “If your friends jump, will you jump too?”
12. When Sima aunty tops up Nadia’s reason with a better one – parent’s wish. This is the plot of Baghban 2.
13. When we finally get the secret to ‘successful marriages’. No, it’s not communication.
14. When an astrologer predicts Vinay and Nadia will have twins, only for them to break-up in the next episode, thereby proving how that astrology is a reliable science… not.
15. When the same astrologer also describes the ideal man for Aparna – someone willing to accept domestic abuse.
16. When Sima aunty specifies what’s really at stake in marriage. And if you thought it was the couple’s relationship, you’ve clearly not been paying attention.
17. And last, but not the least, the never-ending obsession with fair and skinny.
All images are screenshots from Netflix.