Indian Matchmaking, the new Netflix docu-series is the talk of the town. It has had a mixed response, but most of it has been negative. Everyone is talking about how the show is regressive and cringeworthy. The amusing part is that the people criticizing the show are mostly Indians. With 90% of the marriages in India are arranged marriages, what’s been shown in the series is a mirror to the arranged marriage matchmaking process.
Seema Tapariya, India’s self-proclaimed No.1 matchmaker, is the spotlight of the series and takes us through her matchmaking process. She visits the interested candidate’s house, takes a look at their lifestyle and interviews the candidate with their family members. After meeting the client, Seema finds the profiles that match their expectations and arranges meetings. If all goes well, the couple gets married. Seema has an astrologer and a life coach in her team, and in one of the scenes, the astrologer talks about the sex life aspect of the match! She also has a collaboration with another matchmaker to help her with cases where she has no expertise, like where clients look for a partner with a modern mindset or someone more progressive. Seema’s specialty is a traditional family set up.
Throughout the series, Seema says that her clients, especially lady clients, need to be flexible, adjusting and compromise on their ambition if they want to find a good life partner.
The characters are interesting on the show and relatable. All the clients on the show are rich, mostly NRIs and in their thirties – over the hill, as is often described in the Indian marriage market (except for Akshay, since he is 25). Most of them want FAIR, good looking, educated partner. The most notable clients were Ankita, a businesswoman based in Mumbai and Akshay and his mother Preeti. Akshay’s mom Preeti has attracted industrial level memes after the series. The reason I have chosen these two is because they are poles apart. Ankita is a modern woman and Akshay is a typical Mama’s boy.
With an established and flourishing garment business, Ankita wishes for a life partner with a modern outlook. That is perfect but Seema’s reaction is not. She calls Ankita very ambitious and also says ‘such girls’ need to be flexible. She is incapable of finding a match for her as she is too modern and looks for a match through her collaborator Geeta. Geeta sets her up with a guy whom Ankita really likes, but the real twist comes when Ankita’s friends google him and find out he is a divorcee, which was kept a secret by the matchmakers. When Ankita confronts them, Seema and Geeta’s explanations are so unconvincing. It is interesting to watch how Ankita handles the situation and makes decisions about her future.
On the other hand, Akshay was brought up as a puppy. He needs his Mom to feed him and do everything for him. He is programmed to listen to his mom, and no wonder he says “I literally want my wife like my mother” When his mom hears that, she is so happy and announces that all boys look for their mothers in their wives. She continuously badgers Akshay to get married. Preeti also dictates what kind of girl SHE wants Akshay to marry. This is where it gets cringeworthy and is the reason Akshay and his mom have received the maximum backlash. Many women have seen themselves being portrayed in Preeti and have commented negatively on her. Perhaps there is some aspect of Preeti in everyone, and people may be too embarrassed to admit that.
In reality, India is full of Akshays and Preetis! Mothers have a huge influence on what type of wife her son should have. Some of you will snigger and say that it happens only in conservative and less educated families, but Preeti is educated, rich and not from very conservative household. Just watch her on the dining table ordering Akshay to get married so his elder brother can start a family. Akshay meekly protests but Preeti has the last say. “They will have baby once you get married as they need to enjoy your wedding!”
Does Preeti gets the match she wants for her son? Watch the series.