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The Indian society is trying to break stereotypes, but Indian Matchmaking just adds fuel to the fire. It left me with second thoughts about marriage.
Ranking no.1 on Netflix India, the story rather, documentary revolves around how the matches are made for an arranged marriage in India. The only thing I found amusing was the editing. I felt that the editors of the show have done really their job to bring out the best in the show.
The main character is a popular matchmaker from Mumbai (typical right?) Her job is to find matches or life partners for her clients based on their preferences or criteria. She works out the best she can to find a perfect match.
But why does she deal only with rich people and NRIs? If so, the title of the show should’ve been either ‘Wealthy (North) Indian’ Matchmaking or the ‘NRI’ Matchmaking. Dude seriously! India isn’t all about Mumbai or Delhi nor does the country end at the state of Maharashtra. What has been filmed is just less than one percent of our society (psst… I included South Indians too. We too are Indians right?)
While the modern Indian society is trying to break many stereotypes of our nation, this show just adds fuel to the fire. The matchmaker herself takes care of the compatibility between the couple. With astrology, and the couple’s face reading, she also goes one step ahead.
Whichever client, she cannot find a right match for, is recommended to visit a relationship advisor. But does this entire astrology compatibility thing work out after marriage? Or do they even live a happy life after taking so many ‘precautionary’ steps?
Few general criteria of the clients were acceptable. But what disturbed me the most was the rich mother-in-law showcasing jewellery and grand clothes. She says all that will be passed on to whoever marries her second son. To make it worse, the son expects his wife-to-be to stay at home and take care of him (just like his mom does) and his kids. Sad to witness that such people still exist in the 21st century.
What this show taught us overall is the misconception of how our nation is exposed to the outer world. I would suggest that the director and other creators of the show took a little more peek into our society. In the meantime, we also need to work a little harder to change this mindset of the patriarchal society. Sadly, this is the show ranking no. 1 on Netflix India.
A 23 year old who now has second thought about marriage.
Picture credits: Still from Netflix original Indian Matchmaking
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).