Indian Matchmaking creator reacts to the harsh judgement Preeti and Akshay are receiving, teases season two
Creator of the controversial new Netflix reality show Indian Matchmaking, Smriti Mundhra, has reacted to the criticism that the show has received. Smriti, who has known matchmaker Sima Taparia for 15 years, said that the job of the show isn’t to sanitise the process, but to document it.
“I knew the show would be big, the biggest thing I’ve ever done, but I did not expect it to take off the way it has,” she told Scroll. “But I’m extremely happy people are connecting with it and it’s sparking conversations around the world.”
Smriti also addressed the emotional hold that the participant Akshay’s mother Preeti seems to have over him. In the show, Preeti appears to be more concerned with finding a match for her 25-year-old son than the son himself. “I think it’s easy to judge Preeti and Akshay. Progressing beyond conservative ideals is a sign of bravery, but also privilege. It usually means you have a support system and the social space to exist outside of the narrow confines of tradition,” she said, adding, “It makes me sad that people are judging them so harshly.”
While some have called the show out for its depiction of regressive ideas about beauty and compatibility, others have consumed it as a piece of light entertainment. “This is the reality of how many people in our culture still think,” Smriti said. “To remove those references from the show would be to sanitize this process, rather than be honest about it. And plenty of participants in the series defy or refuse to conform to these standards, which I think is a powerful statement about how young people in India and the diaspora are changing in terms of what we should value when it comes to marriage.”
In the show, Sima Taparia goes about setting up her clients with potential partners. Her methods are what have drawn the most attention. Sima frequently reduces people to a set of adjectives, and is often seen telling women to ‘adjust’ and ‘compromise’.
“The job of the show isn’t to sanitize the world of matchmaking and arranged marriage and make it seem more progressive and inclusive than it is,” Smriti said. “We tried to look at this tradition, which is so deeply rooted in our culture, with nuance and through multiple points of view, without denying that a lot needs to change. I hope the conversations started by the show will help to propel that change.”
She said that the popularity of the show has opened up the possibility of having a more diverse set of participants in a second season, were there to be one.
Follow @htshowbiz for more