If you are a woman who is highly individualistic, strong-willed and overtly picky when it comes to choosing her life partner, then you stand a high chance of being cancelled and classified as an ‘unsuitable’ candidate on Indian Matchmaking.
Love to hate it or hate to love it, but there is no denying that however much you may cringe, the show has been a conversation starter in the recent past. And it also brings the focus back to the ‘socio-cultural’ commentary on colourism, casteism and classism.
Indian Matchmaking first premiered in 2020 and introduced us to Sima Taparia, Mumbai’s top matchmaker, as she tries to match the most compatible amongst her clients across Mumbai and the United States of America. We see interactions unfurl as she weighs in on family expectations—those of the ‘candidates’, their families, and social backgrounds.
Though Season 1 ended with none of the singles finding their partners, Taparia is quick to respond with, “It’s all destiny; nothing is in my hands or theirs. When the stars align then only things happen, and it depends from individual to individual too.”
As she returns on Season 2, we are introduced to a new set of clients and also have the chance to catch up with some old faces like Aparna Shewakramani and Nadia Jagessar. When asked how tough it’s been this time around Taparia responds with her characteristic matter-of-fact tone, “The thing is, everyone wants everything and I cannot fulfil every demand—good looks, educational backgrounds, families and choice of cities.”
But she reiterates that it’s her Indian clients who are very conscious about the dwellings of their prospective partners in comparison to the rest.
“The city aspect applies to India, abroad they are very flexible regarding cities and states. It’s not possible to tick all the boxes for them, but I work hard for them.”
In her pursuit to find suitable partners for her clients, most of whom are wealthy upper class Indians, Taparia asserts that she is transparent and clear with all her clients, choosing to work with specific communities and being stringent on whom she chooses to represent and not.
“I can’t take everyone. I need to do full justice to those I choose. The criteria for selections is that I give options and if I am unable to do so, I communicate the same,” she tells us.
In the recent season, she once again reiterates her favourite keywords—‘compromise ‘, ‘flexible’, ‘adjustment’, while doling out friendly matronly advice to her clients with huge age gaps, especially to the women about being too stringent about their ideas of love and marriage. For example, when Jagessar was told that being attracted to Vishal, who is seven years her junior, was a recipe for disaster. We even saw Taparia unabashedly declare that the ten-year age gap between Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas was far from perfect, once again putting the show in the spotlight for being regressive and glorifying outdated ideas and attitudes.
Taparia calmly responds to the criticism, “These youngsters have made a big deal about ‘compromise’; the better word here is ‘understanding’, and in any sphere of life you need understanding. How can you adapt and make your relationship work if you are not understanding? Problems are inherent in relationships.”
As Jagessar has her heartbroken by Vishal, Sima has an ‘I told you so moment’, “Well you saw how Nadia realised Sima Aunty was right all along. It’s nice when these children listen.”
But as men choose to take in partners much junior to them in age, is it wrong for a woman to do so is a question that’s constantly raised and debated on.
“There is bound to be a clash in maturity levels, but it depends from person to person.”
Aparna Shewakramani, a successful lawyer in the previous season, was described as being ‘negative and stubborn’ because she was too picky. After being vocal about how disturbed she was by Taparia’s many comments, Shewakramani is back on the show but consulting a Korean-American astrologer in Hyderabad. When we asked Taparia about that, she says, “People have their own ideas and work along that. Aparna has her own thinking, she is educated and can do what she feels is right,” says Sima dismissively.
Calling herself a ‘vehicle’ to expedite the process between two families, she says the concept of arranged marriages has evolved as families seek suitable matches for their ‘children’ who come with their own sensibilities. As she points out in the show “first marriage, love will follow later”, she says there is no barometer to gauge the success of an arranged or love marriage.
“Marriage is a lottery. These youngsters say Sima Aunty is old fashioned, but in a love marriage they are looking for love, once attracted they get married. But in an arranged match we weigh the options of family values and background, which are important. There is never any pressure on the ‘children’. They take their time, and once they feel they have a ‘connect’ then I proceed and seal the deal with both sides. Also, there is solid family support that comes with an arranged marriage.”
Her characteristic statements and remarks have triggered a meme fest, with her one-liners taking causing a stir on the internet. From when she told her Nashik-based client that “even if he was Nick Jonas it would be highly unlikely for him to get Priyanka Chopra if he lived in Nashik” to her comments on ‘kids’ these days having too much freedom to decide, there’s a lot of fodder for meme creators.
She admits though that she has not read the comments or seen any of her memes, but she’s happy that the show has got people talking, “I am happy people are so creative, they have loved the show and seen things so minutely, it makes me pleased.”
When we ask her about Season 3, she answers with a “let’s hope so”. But with all the celebrity references in this season, we had to know who is the perfect celebrity couple accoridng to her. “Call me old, but I think Hema Malini and Dharamendra are perfect and amongst the youngsters, it’s Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli.”