Masala weighs in on the heroes and villains of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking.
By Amrita Sachdev and Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Indian Matchmaking, Netflix’s latest contribution to the roster of virtual crack that is their reality dating shows, has lit a match – heh – under the desi community the world over. Featuring Sima ‘from Mumbai’ Taparia, the self-proclaimed “top matchmaker in Mumbai,” the show follows her as she jet sets across the globe to find the perfect fit for a colourful cast of idiosyncratic characters. Here’s our take on the good, the bad, and the nightmare-fuel (warning: SPOILERS ahead).
Sima from Mumbai, as she invariably refers to herself on the show, is that one aunty that everyone loves and hates in equal measure. Not only is she the epitome of The Matchmaking Aunty (Masala Lite, July 2019 issue) but her criteria for a suitable match is steeped in colourism and defunct ideals. Forget #tbt, Sima Aunty is the real throwback – her obsession with ‘fair, trim and slim’ is more ‘old-fashioned and grim.’ On the other hand, her expressions when dealing with her more problematic clients is a real Mood for all of 2020. At the end of the day, she’s a successful woman who knows her business: if you can’t win, just say it’s “not in the stars” and that’ll shut your detractors right up.
Nadia Christina Jagessar – the woman of everyone’s dreams. She’s an entrepreneur and event planner, beautiful Bollywood dancer, and her criteria for a future partner is…a good human being. If there was ever a show that perfectly demonstrated the incredibly low bar that women in the Indian society must carry for men, this would be it. Honestly, anyone who stands up this cinnamon roll of a woman – like her date did, twice! – needs to be tarred and feathered.
Where do we start? From the fact that she’s a lawyer who’s spent “10 years trying not to be a lawyer” to her hatred of comedy and the fact that there’s nothing about herself that she’s willing to change, Aparna’s persona has left us all feeling a little salty – just like the Bolivian salt flats that she rejected a date for because he didn’t know they existed. Sure, we love an outspoken, ambitious woman but we don’t think she realises that she puts the ‘ass’ in ‘asinine’ when she asks a match, “who relaxes for 10 days? What’s wrong with you?” We don’t know, Aparna, so far the only thing wrong with him is that he’s had to sit through a date with you.
Aparna’s mum, biggest cheerleader, and eerie lookalike, Jotika is the mum that we’d all kind of like to have but hate to meet. She claims that all she wants is her daughter’s happiness in love but later hints that in this case, happiness is spelled M-O-N-E-Y. Her barely-concealed looks of disdain when meeting a laidback author that was a potential match could give Sima Aunty’s longsuffering glances a run for their money – the perfect face-off. At the end of the day though, all she wants is for her daughter to have a lasting marriage, unlike her own bad matrimonial luck, and hey, wouldn’t we all want a mum who’ll hand us a sapphire and diamond-studded ring just on the say-so of the panditji?
Pradhyuman, born and raised in Mumbai, works as a jeweller, but he’s also a fashion plate, a chef, and, according to him, “more than a rich pretty boy” (we have our doubts). After meeting with Sima Aunty, the Maloo family informs her that after 150 different proposals, Pradhyuman has yet to find any of them desirable or ‘attractive,’ which does raise the question – is he still in the (abnormally large and colour-coded) closet? This issue, of course, all goes out of the window when he sees a picture of a potential match, Rushali, a stunning young model. Shocker. The personalised door-knob of his face and superficiality aside, we really hope Sima Aunty works her magic and finds Pradhyuman his soulmate.
Whoever said we choose romantic partners similar to our parents definitely knew the Jakhete family. Akshay, a self-proclaimed introvert, has a single preference for his future wife – that she be “exactly like his mother” Preeti. Oedipus complex, much? As a recent college graduate, Akshay is now ready for the next step of his adult life and is desperately seeking for a wife to cook, clean, and do his laundry at his earliest convenience. Thank you, next.
“High BP, high BP, high BP” – Preeti has mastered the art of emotional blackmail. The epitome of every negative desi mother-in-law stereotype, Preeti is pressuring her son to marry as soon as possible so that her older son can start trying to have a baby, as normal as that sounds. Her criteria for a daughter-in-law remains simple enough: she must be flexible, must be 5’3 and above, and must tend to her husband’s every need, 24/7. We look forward to seeing the lucky girl who lands this prince charming.
This giant teddy-bear of a man deserves all the good things in life – up to and including someone to watch Avengers: Endgame (2019) with him in the cinema and hold his hand through it (we get it, the struggle is real). A school counsellor from Austin, Vyasar’s easygoing manner, sense of humour, and love of all things nerdy have quickly netted him the love of his students and the rest of the internet, and lucky for us, at 6’7, there’s plenty of him to go around. If you’re looking for someone to join you in your weekly Dungeons & Dragons game, Vyasar, quite a few of us in the office would happily volunteer as tribute.
Businesswoman, full-figured, and independent. These three qualities in a woman make Ankita, an entrepreneur who owns a garment business, so unmarriageable, according to Sima Aunty, that the professional assistance of a second matchmaker had to be involved. However, Ankita quickly faced multiple difficulties receiving any prospects after Sima Aunty realised she was not looking to become an unpaid housekeeper – and to that we say, keep on doing you, queen.