Indian Matchmaking runs out of steam 

Indian Matchmaking, a show where Mumbai’s top matchmaker Sima Taparia (known as “Sima Aunty”) finds potential life partners for single clients, launched its newest season on April 21. But, after watching three seasons of a show that falls flat in many respects and consistently reinforces negative stereotypes, I think I can safely say that Indian Matchmaking’s shelf life is past its expiry date. 

To begin with, the idea of Indian Matchmaking is actually pretty interesting. 

Traditional arranged marriages tend to be complicated, prioritizing parental consent over the couple’s consent. In fact, in many traditional arranged marriages, the couple only sees each other once before tying the knot for life. 

Indian Matchmaking introduces a more modern take on arranged marriages. As matchmaker, Sima Aunty pairs her clients with potential partners based on their list of preferences but gives them ultimate freedom in their decisions thereafter. 

But while the foundation of the show remains strong, its execution and delivery are far from perfect. 

The picture shows a woman with a braid down her back decorated with flowers
Indian Matchmaking on Netflix

Question Number 1: Where did they go?

Indian Matchmaking does a fantastic job of introducing individuals from a variety of backgrounds and lifestyles but has trouble representing them equally. 

Season 3’s main spotlight seems to be on the relationship between Priya and Vimal. Priya’s story dominates Episodes 1-6. But though Bobby is perhaps the most likable member of this season, his screen time is limited to 2 episodes. After a failed date with Priya, he vanishes entirely from the storyline!

On the other hand, Arti (after Episode 5) and Pavneet (after Episode 7) are abruptly introduced in the middle of the season. Priya is casually chatting with Sima about her relationship with Vimal when Arti suddenly appears talking about her life story. Pavneet pops up in Episode 7, the second to last episode, to begin her story. 

Question Number 2: Is this show about Sima Taparia or her clients? 

Here’s Google’s description of Indian Matchmaking: “Drawing from decades of experiences, insights, and traditional methods, Mumbai’s premier matchmaker Sima Taparia strives to help single people find their perfect matches.” 

I think it’s safe to assume that the show revolves around Sima Aunty and her “experiences, insights, and traditional methods.” Despite that, Season 3 ends with Arti and Jamal’s engagement, a pair that Sima Aunty didn’t even approve of (let alone match). And, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Remember, Pradhyuman and Ashima’s marriage in Season 2?

Yeah, Sima Aunty didn’t orchestrate that either. 

Question Number 3: What’s up with India?

Critics have slammed previous seasons of Indian Matchmaking for promoting controversial values. So, it’s not a shocker that Season 3 continues to highlight those ideas. 

Only this time the setting has changed.

Indian Matchmaking has primarily focused on the U.S. and India, but Season 3 adds a new location – London. The city is introduced at the beginning of Season 3 in a lively and glamorized way – extensive city views, a colorful ferris wheel, and Sima Aunty saying, “I love London. Good cars, good social life, and a huge Indian community.”

But as the show switches between locations, the videography doesn’t do any justice to India. The difference is quite stark. India is filmed with run-down buildings, cars honking, and monkeys running around.

The show selectively highlights the best parts of London while depicting not-so-great parts of India, reinforcing a stereotyped, damaging perception of India as a filthy, developing country.  

Question Number 4: Why Is Sima Aunty so inconsistent in her attitude toward clients?

Priya Ashra, a clinical pharmacist, appears at the show’s start. She explains that she’s been divorced for two years, “With divorce, you associate a lot of shame, a lot of guilt with it. Before I used to be someone that used to hide that I was divorced and dating. But, now, I’m just like, you know what, this is part of my story, so I’m gonna share it.” 

It’s true, being divorced is a stigma in Indian culture; divorcees get labeled as “selfish.” That’s why India’s divorce rate is at 1% – not because Indian marriages are more successful, but because couples are expected to continue their commitment to each other despite conflicts in the union. 

When Priya gives Sima Aunty her criteria for a partner, Sima Aunty says, “She should not be so much picky because she has one disadvantage behind her, that she’s divorced.”

In labeling divorce as a “disadvantage,” Sima Aunty reinforces the stigma attached to divorce. She actually encourages Priya to lower her expectations for her next partner! Oddly, when Priya requests a partner with a full head of hair, Sima Aunty’s first introduction to Priya is a bald guy. 

And yet, Sima Aunty doesn’t ask Vikash Mishra to settle for less. Vikash, a 40-year-old, somewhat eccentric ER doctor whose grasp of Hindi is frankly sub-par, wants a Hindi-speaking girl as a future partner. Sima Aunty goes to great lengths to meet his demands! But Vikash is hard to please.

She finds a girl who meets his preferences except for speaking in Hindi – Rejected.
She finds a girl who speaks Hindi but has an Indian accent – Rejected.

Only when Sima Aunty finds someone who speaks Hindi despite an American accent, does Vikash finally say “Yes!”

The pcture shows a man and a woman painting at an easel
Vikash Mishra and Anjali Naskar in Season 3 of Indian Matchmaking (image courtesy: IMBD)

Game. Set. Cancel.

Though the show is mildly entertaining with cringy first-date scenes and quirky cast members, its poor structure and prejudiced remarks simply aren’t worth watching.

Bluntly speaking, it doesn’t even make the cut for Sima Aunty’s “60 or 70%” policy on compromise. 

Kaashvi Mittal is a rising sophomore at Saint Francis High School. Her interests include computer science, AI, and writing!