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Indian Matchmaking isn’t worth the hate-watch anymore. Sima Aunty is stuck on ‘compromise’

Netflix doesn’t care about controversies. Whenever one of their shows sparks public debate and enters living rooms as party conversations, they milk it for all that it’s worth. Indian Matchmaking is no different, and has returned for its third season.

This time around, the show’s content doesn’t inspire the shock it used to. Now we know, Sima Aunty is Sima Aunty. Whether she is in a plush New York City living room, or the Mumbai flat of a Gujarati business scion––she is single minded as ever. And caste-class dynamics remain entrenched, much to the chagrin of a primarily upper-class audience.

Indian Matchmaking has a new pit shop for Sima Aunty in this new season––United Kingdom, another hub for the discontented members of the diaspora. 35-year-old divorcee Priya hopes to find happiness after a disappointing ‘love’ marriage. “You have to be flexible, you have to compromise,” Sima Aunty tells her, using the buzzwords that made her the internet’s favourite meme.

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Stale stories, important commentary

As was the case with the previous season, clients from season 2 returned. Last time’s defiant and provocative Aparna, who didn’t find a match, has been replaced with the bubbly Gujarati girl Viral.  There’s also Rushali, a Miss India contestant, who was matched with Pradyuman whose personality had one striking feature –– that he was loaded. He provides an ample amount of comic relief.

Indian Matchmaking’s latest cast is the same as before, and that’s what makes the show feel stale. While everyone claimed to ‘hate-watch’ it and lambasted it for being ‘cringe’, there were parts that were genuinely funny. The show had value in the fact that it wholeheartedly embraced its ‘cringeness’. But you cannot keep watching it for the same reason, especially when Sima Aunty’s clients, well-meaning as they are, are no longer as entertaining.

The show shines when it sheds unflattering light on the parents of Sima’s clients; how controlling they are, how much they coddle their fully grown adult male children. First dates often take place at parents’ houses, with them as chaperones: as is the case with primary school teacher Bobby and Priya. On the other hand, there’s Rushali, for whom the parent-child roles have been reversed. The lack of embellishment is remarkable, making these bits worthy and necessary cultural commentary.

Sima Aunty sets her clients up in various permutations and combinations, and the advertisements for arranged marriages continue –– with every episode opening with a sweet, mostly older couple narrating their experience; how thrown they initially were and how wonderfully things turned out eventually.

Indian Matchmaking has always felt geared towards the diaspora, with many contestants straddling two worlds: traditional, stifling India and the more open-minded, cosmopolitan West. Indian cities are also viewed through a similar gaze. Delhi and Mumbai look filthy and overcrowded, with ‘exotic’ music playing in the background.  Viral is concerned about seeming culturally ignorant when she meets Aashay’s parents. She doesn’t want them to think she’s an ABCD (American-born confused Desi).

It is unclear whether Indian Matchmaking does its job for the contestants. Unlike the last two season, it didn’t succeed this time. It’s not bingeable. It’s not only for the contestants, but maybe it’s time for Sima Aunty to also switch things up.

(Edited by Ratan Priya)

Source: The Print

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