Netflix’s New Dating Show Indian Matchmaking Has Got Everyone Talking…

The show has been accused of colourism and classism.

Sima Taparia Indian Matchmaking

by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

It’s been dubbed the next big Netflix must-watch, but Indian Matchmaking, released last week, has already become mired in controversy.

The show follows professional matchmaker Sima Taparia as she tries to help arrange marriages in the US and India, but has been accused of – amongst other things – colourism, sexism and classism. Social media has been full of criticism over the weekend.

‘Sima from Mumbai’ as she introduces herself, is Mumbai’s Top Matchmaker and introduces herself, saying: ‘In India marriage is a very big industry, a very big fat industry.

‘In India we don’t say arranged marriage - there is marriage and then love marriage. The marriages are between two families, the two families have their reputation and many millions of dollars at stake. So the parents guide their children and that’s the work of a matchmaker.’

In the opening moments, she’s seen talking to a mother, discussing the height and nature of the woman she’s demanding for her son, before a montage of her clients giving their demands and Sima assessing her dossier of people.

‘They want tall, they want fair, they want from a good family,’ she says. ‘You have to see the caste, the height, the age…’

Netflix says of the show: 'What happens when you’re ready to meet someone but the dating apps feel superficial and aren’t yielding the desired results? Meet the single millennials who have decided that it’s time to revisit methods from the past and look to the experts.

'Over 8 episodes, elite Indian matchmaker Sima Taparia learns about her clients with painstaking precision - from interests and ambitions to in-depth astrological readings - as she guides them towards their perfect match.

'From Houston to Chicago to Mumbai, these young singles go on sometimes fun, sometimes awkward first dates - often with their family in tow - to discover whether these good-on-paper matches can turn into a love that lasts a lifetime.'

While the show has come under criticism for several things on Twitter, colourism (discrimination based on skin colour – in this case a preference for lighter skin) has been a leading concern.

‘the casualness with which people keep repeating the requirement that matches be “fair” is...disconcerting,’ wrote one user.

‘So we not gonna address the constant and blatant colourism in #IndianMatchmaking? Okay, cool. Carry on,’ wrote another.

One headline about the show went further, branding it ‘this year's scariest horror story about arranged marriages’.

While it could’ve been interesting in another format to look at the colourism, money and problems involved in the matchmaking system, the show doesn’t address them. Instead the show is presented in the sense of any other Netflix dating show, with fun graphics and careful editing we're used to from shows like Love Is Blind.

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