Instead, I laughed at hilarious scenes between Indian American families redolent of my family. Released on July 16, this Netflix original is produced by the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Smriti Mundhra, who communicates a middle way between arranged marriages and modern dating. I am in the second camp and let me tell you why. Some of my relatives immigrated to the United States. Many of them are still in India. I have visited my aunties and uncles, eaten kheer at the Langar of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, enjoyed homemade samosas and chai from my great aunt in New Delhi and floated on a little wooden boat on the sacred albeit grey Ganges river, among many other adventures that taught me about my Indian origins. I recognize that I exist in a different space of privilege as an Indian and Chinese American, who can pass as white.
We Need to Talk About ‘Indian Matchmaking’
In ancient Greece promnestria —female matchmakers—sought out eligible youngsters and facilitated marriage negotiations between families. In some Jewish communities a shadchan , either a male or a female matchmaker, introduces singles to each other. The role is particularly important in South Asian societies, where the practice of arranged marriage dates back to at least the 4th century. Smriti Mundhra, a film-maker, has long been fascinated by the custom. Co-directed by Ms Mundhra and Sarita Khurana, the film follows three young Indian women as they find husbands and enter into matrimony.
I was a little worried how Indians would be portrayed, especially to people who aren’t familiar with a culture where arranged marriages are.
This book is an extensive and thorough exploration of the ways in which the middle class in India select their spouse. Using the prism of matchmaking, this book critically unpacks the concept of the ‘modern’ and traces the importance of moralities and values in the making of middle class identities, by bringing to the fore intersections and dynamics of caste, class, gender, and neoliberalism. The author discusses a range of issues: romantic relationships among youth, use of online technology and of professional services like matrimonial agencies and detective agencies, encounters of love and heartbreak, impact of experiences of pain and humiliation on spouse-selection, and the involvement of family in matchmaking.
Based on this comprehensive account, she elucidates how the categories of ‘love’ and ‘arranged’ marriages fall short of explaining, in its entirety and essence, the contemporary process of spouse-selection in urban India. Though the ethnographic research has been conducted in India, this book is of relevance to social scientists studying matchmaking practices, youth cultures, modernity and the middle class in other societies, particularly in parts of Asia.
While being based on thorough scholarship, the book is written in accessible language to appeal to a larger audience. Jindal Global University, India.
The only problem with ‘Indian Matchmaking’ is that it doesn’t live up to your fantasies
Then there was the time my dad told me I was disinvited to his future funeral, because my preference was to date whomever I wanted as opposed to accepting an arranged marriage and that was an embarrassment to the family. He conveniently denies this ever happened, for the record. The reality show follows Sima Taparia, a professional matchmaker from Mumbai who travels around the world helping Indian clients find suitable matches for marriage.
In Indian Matchmaking, that villain is year-old Aparna Shewakramani, a prospective bride who’s critical of every man she meets and vocal.
The first season of the show has missed presenting an all-round and inclusive picture of the Indian reality. That Indian Matchmaking has upset people across the spectrum is slightly baffling given we are a culture obsessed with arranged marriages. Newspapers embellished with matrimonial adverts — ridiculous and regressive in equal measure — are perhaps the oldest testimonies to our fixation with this robust institution. With Indian Matchmaking , this well-preserved secret is out for Western edification and that is perhaps the reason for our collective outrage against the show.
The merits and demerits of this criticism levelled against the show can be emphatically argued when placed within the cultural context our society. Zara and I are far removed when it comes to our religion.
Review: ‘Indian Matchmaking’ balances tradition and modernity, despite controversy
By Sajmun Sachdev August 11, But while I was celebrating what I found to be a super authentic look into the world of matchmaking, arranged marriages and Indian family dynamics, many reviewers and tweeters made me realize that I may be the only South Asian woman who was. So seeing that representation in Indian Matchmaking made me feel proud: Finally an Indian filmmaker had accomplished what we got into this industry to do: She put us on TV.
In many Indian cultures, arranged marriages are simply the norm, whereas organic relationships or “love marriages” are an idiosyncrasy. That’s.
Arranged marriage is a tradition in the societies of the Indian subcontinent , and continue to account for an overwhelming majority of marriages in the Indian subcontinent. Arranged marriages are believed to have initially risen to prominence in the Indian subcontinent when the historical Vedic religion gradually gave way to classical Hinduism the ca. The Indian subcontinent has historically been home to a wide variety of wedding systems. Some were unique to the region, such as Swayamvara which was rooted in the historical Vedic religion and had a strong hold in popular culture because it was the procedure used by Rama and Sita.
In a swayamvara , the girl’s parents broadcast the intent of the girl to marry and invited all interested men to be present in a wedding hall on a specific date and time. The girl, who was also often given some prior knowledge about the men or was aware of their general reputation, would circulate the hall and indicate her choice by garlanding the man she wanted to marry.
Sometimes the father of the bride would arrange for a competition among the suitors, such as a feat of strength, to help in the selection process. The marriage of Dushyanta and Shakuntala was an example of this marriage. As the Vedic religion evolved into classical orthodox Hinduism ca. Manu and others attacked the Gandharva and other similar systems, decrying them as holdouts ” from the time of promiscuity ” which, at best, were only suitable for small sections of society.
It is also speculated that parental control of marriage may have emerged during this period as a mechanism to prevent the intermixing of ethnic groups and castes. This emergence of early arranged marriages in the Indian subcontinent was consistent with similar developments elsewhere, such as Indonesia , various Muslim regions and South Pacific societies. With kinship groups being viewed a primary unit to which social loyalty was owed by individuals, marriage became an affair deeply impacting the entire family for Indian Hindus and Muslims alike and key to “the formation or maintenance of family alliances.
Where specific alliances were socially preferred, often an informal right of first refusal was presumed to exist.
Arranged marriage in the Indian subcontinent
An honest perspectiv While the two lovers have the opportunity to go on actual dates and have some liberties when it comes to deciding their spouse, Sima Aunty is more or less setting up arranged marriages — an ancient tradition in many Asian countries, especially in India. Add to Chrome. Sign in.
On the surface of it, matchmaking seems innocuous, like IRL Tinder only with Indian culture is tokenised and in some cases turned into a.
Her passive-aggressiveness aside, the looks of quiet judgement have made her a meme star and the series a hit. Most Pakistanis are familiar with the trolley routine where a girl brings tea for a prospective groom and his family, but that is not what happens on this show. Instead, the couples are shown bio-datas and asked to go on dates at restaurants and other public places to see if there is enough connection to take the matter further. While this may seem more open than the more chaperoned Pakistani style of matrimony, the family control and sky-high expectations are strikingly similar.
One of Taparia’s clients is a Houston-based lawyer named Aparna, who comes across as a perfectionist, one who needs her life partner to know that the country of Bolivia has salt flats because she is fond of travelling. Meanwhile Akshay, a traditional young man from a wealthy family who wants someone just like his mother —has turned down over 70 young women on the basis of their photographs alone— is not so thoroughly examined.
For many, though Indian Matchmaking has opened up a space for discussion and introspection, but finding a spouse is too often reduced to a stark algorithm of materialistic requirements. But men do not escape judgment entirely in this show either; another wealthy young bachelor is Pradhyuman, a jewellery designer from Mumbai, who has rejected even more young women, plus at last count who also faced criticism. His self-absorption and lack of connectivity with any of the women he was matched with was pretty evident.
Similarly, Akshay may not have been criticised by Taparia but many on social media pointed out he was very immature and incapable of thinking independently of his mother.
Matchmaking in Middle Class India
In the case of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking , it’s Sima Taparia , a globetrotting matchmaker from Mumbai who’s supposedly the best in the business, and these aren’t just dates, but first meetings that could rapidly blossom into an arranged marriage. The show follows her as she sets up eight nitpicky Indians and Indian Americans while satisfying their rigid families.
But in reality, Indian Matchmaking is far less comprehensive in its view of arranged marriage than it appears. In the time since its July 16 release, the show has become a lightning rod for controversy over its depictions of sexism, casteism, and colorism; memes, meanwhile, have flooded the internet. Aparna has gained infamy for her dislike of comedy , Akshay got trolled for being completely controlled by his mother, and Nadia found a legion of fans coming to her defense after a tragic ghosting.
As the protagonist of the show, matchmaker Sima’s reception was largely positive at first; her quick judgments and straight-faced curtness earned her instant virality.
Netflix. Early in Indian Matchmaking, Netflix’s haute-reality TV show about the arranging of arranged Sign up for the Slate Culture newsletter.
Add to that the unique challenges of matchmaking, for instance, an Indian Guyanese wedding planner and high school counsellor with a criminal father — its not always a straight-forward affair. However, Taparia takes it all in her stride. With the help of a motely crew of agents, including a dubious face reader, astrologer, life coach and even another matchmaker, Taparia meets, assesses and matches singletons in the hope of hearing wedding bells and earning her top end commission.
More interesting perhaps is the darker, real side of Indian culture and matchmaking factors that come into play. Had this series been made with working class urban or rural families under the lens, the actual reality of Indian matchmaking would have been exposed. Maybe that could be an idea for season two. Email: info indiaincgroup.
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Indian Matchmaking, Total Recall, and the best things we watched this weekend
They spoke in the kitchen, her mother pretending to wash dishes in the background and her brother hiding in a cupboard, eavesdropping. Thus, the beginning of her matchmaking experience ended almost as soon as it began. Executive produced by Smriti Mundhra, it follows Sima Taparia, a Mumbai-based matchmaker Mundhra met when her own mother solicited matchmaking services for her a decade ago.
Mundhra, who was raised in the U. She made a documentary on the topic in , A Suitable Girl , a broad and bitter portrait of traditional matchmaking in India. It follows three women up until their wedding days, documenting their loss of independence and observing the severe social and familial pressures they face throughout the process.
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. But when the matchmaker recited her lengthy questionnaire, I grasped, if just for a beat, why people did things this way. Do you believe in a higher power?
Uncommon Indian weddings
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.
I felt a similar empathy when I switched on “Indian Matchmaking,” Netflix’s new, while inviting non-desis to better understand our culture.
T he first time we meet Aparna Shewakaramani, a year-old Houston-reared Indian-American lawyer in Indian Matchmaking — the Netflix reality series that follows an elite Mumbai matchmaker brokering marriage among affluent families — she launches into a diatribe against arranged marriage. Spread over eight episodes, Indian Matchmaking revolves around a something Sima Taparia, a flamboyant Mumbai matchmaker tasked with finding seven eligible bachelors, a suitable life-partner. It opens with an Indian mother on a mission: Akshay, a pampered year-old heir of a business family watches as his mother reveals her laundry list of qualifications for her future daughter-in-law.
She should be willing to acquiesce to all her demands, attractive, fair-skinned, cultured, and tall. Over the course of the season, her persistence slowly and steadily morphs into full-blown emotional manipulation: At the dinner table in one episode, she clinically instructs her elder daughter-in-law to have a baby next year.
Akshay himself is like a classic Imtiaz Ali heroine: subservient, silent, and more pleasing when not allowed to have an opinion. We often find ourselves unwittingly submitting to an array of social standards, and at times, settling, just because it is easier. Watching the whole season in both horror and awe, I found myself hanging on to every word she said, whether it was her reciting her now-viral anecdote about judging a man for not knowing that Bolivia has salt flats.
But as the season progressed, my fascination — which, I admit, stemmed from witnessing someone publicly embarrass themselves — turned into admiration. Indian Matchmaking gets to questioning the repercussions of an imperfect cultural practice on the next generation of Indians. As single women who get to enjoy a degree of independence far greater than the one afforded to our parents, we wax eloquent about our determination to live life on our own terms. But we often find ourselves unwittingly submitting to an array of social standards, looking the other way, and at times, settling, just because it is easier.