A Cringe Fest to Binge Watch: Season 3 of Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’ to Premiere This Friday
- With all its faults, the series still manages to shed light on “India’s $50-billion marriage-industrial complex” and inadvertently exposes issues like colorism and caste.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this reality series has done more than any other, rightly or wrongly, to showcase Indian cultural mores around the world than any Bollywood feature film. The series is not only a big hit with the global Indian diaspora, but even with non-South Asian audiences.
Of course, most Indian American viewers when asked about the series, sneer and claim it is very regressive and accuse it of perpetuating stereotypes and promoting outdated notions of marriage and gender roles.
“There is so much wrong with the show, yet the very people who slam it are the ones who have turned on the notifications button on Netflix for the release of Season 3,” writes Dhwani Desai in OTTplay.
Saying that no one will openly admit being a fan of the “cringe fest,” that propagates completely outdated and highly questionable views, they are at the same time eagerly waiting for the next season in which Sima Aunty (Sima Taparia), “a nosy auntie type who is paid to marry off clients in India and the United States” will be seen matchmaking for people from New York to New Delhi, Miami to London, and even revisiting some of her former clients who still haven’t been able to find love.
“She will help single millennials around the world find love, employing decades-worth of experience and traditional methods,” says a preview report.
“What is perhaps fascinating about the show,” Desai says, “is that it is largely about Indians who are seemingly living a better life abroad and who have to resort to seeking help from a desi saat samundar paar to meet their innate need to find a partner… another desi, at that.”
And then there is the question of double standards that the show exposes. What is amusing for Desai, as an Indian living in India, is apparently to see Indian-Americans looking for their own kind when it comes to settling down, and yet having very low opinions of Indians from India, regardless of how progressive we actually are here.”
With all its faults, however, the series still manages to shed light on “India’s $50-billion marriage-industrial complex” and inadvertently exposes issues like colorism and caste that plague Indian society by showing how they are couched in euphemisms.
Writing in The Atlantic, Indian American journalist Yashica Dutt says, “By coding caste in harmless phrases such as ‘similar backgrounds,’ ‘shared communities’ and ‘respectable families,’ the show does exactly what many upper-caste Indian families tend to do when discussing this fraught subject: It makes caste invisible.”
“Indian Matchmaking” premiered its first season in July 2020. The show is executive produced by Aaron Saidman, Eli Holzman, Smriti Mundhra and J.C. Begley.