Vyasar, from Indian Matchmaking, reacts to criticism of Netflix show, reveals he’s ‘struggling’ with its depiction of Indian society

Vyasar, perhaps the most endearing participant on the new Netflix reality series Indian Matchmaking, has reacted to the criticism that the show has been receiving, and has revealed what he’s struggling with.
Vyasar in episode five of Indian Matchmaking.(Courtesy of Netflix)
Vyasar in episode five of Indian Matchmaking.(Courtesy of Netflix)
Updated on Jul 23, 2020 02:46 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

Indian Matchmaking, the controversial new reality series on Netflix, has divided audiences right down the middle. While some viewers are criticising its regressive outlook, and the outdated ideas of its host, Sima Taparia, others are praising it for its undeniable watchability.

One of the show’s most endearing participants, the Austin-based public school teacher Vyasar Ganesan, has admitted in an interview that it is impossible to ignore some of the show’s most controversial aspects.

Also read: Indian Matchmaking host Sima Taparia on why Tinder, Shaadi.com can’t compete with her: ‘I find out all the inside stories’

Noting that he has been receiving positive messages ever since the show came out, Vyasar told HuffPost, “There are a lot of critics, too, calling out the show on what I think are very real and very problematic issues like colourism, casteism and other discriminatory practices endemic to matchmaking.” He added, “It’s been interesting and revelatory to reflect on my own participation on that process, and how complicit I am in perpetuating these regressive norms.”

Vyasar noted the difference between how Sima interacts with her male and female clients. “Women in Indian culture are constantly told they should have to adjust, make changes to seem more appealing to a potential match,” he said. “It happened with Geeta and Ankita, certainly, in a rather distressing encounter. But it was also heartbreaking to see Rupam being told her chances were so poor. I really loved her story, and shed more than a few tears watching her.”

He continued, “I don’t think any woman deserves to be told she has to compromise. It should always be her own decision, what changes she wants to make or not. Besides, men are trash.” Vyasar agreed that the show doesn’t properly explore orthodox notions, and most packages them for a non-brown audience to make fun of. “To be honest, this is something I’m struggling with. I’m happy to see the show is so successful, but I fear that many Americans and non-Indian people will see this as a simulacrum of Indian society as a whole. Indian society is in the midst of a fairly massive upheaval, across the board,” he said.

Also read: None of the Indian Matchmaking couples stayed together: From Aparna to Vyasar, Sima couldn’t find partners for any of them

He added, “Women’s rights, LGBQT rights, caste laws ― all of these are in a massive moment of flux. And in the middle of all of this, Indian Matchmaking appears, to some, as a callous, lighthearted look at one of the worst offenders. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have been a part of the production, and I’m happy to have met people whom otherwise I never would have. But it would be ignorant of me to suggest that the show comes wholly without stigma.”

He encouraged those criticising the show ‘to continue to do so’ but reminded them that “this show is also a celebration of many, many things. Think about the couples in the opening sequences, sharing their stories. There is value in celebrating and critiquing, in both hands. Be mindful of that.”

He concluded, “At the end of the day, it’s not my call. That duty lies in the hands of producers, network execs, Netflix higher-ups, etc. I hope they are paying attention to what people are saying. The world is changing out there.”

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Monday, May 16, 2022