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Emmys 2021: ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Bags a Nomination in the Unstructured Reality Program Category

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Promo image from Netflix

Indian Matchmaking, the Netflix series that released in July 2020, has bagged a nomination in the list of Primetime Emmy award nominations announced on Tuesday. It has been nominated in the Unstructured Reality Program category.

The series follows Sima Taparia, a professional matchmaker from Mumbai, as she “guides clients in the US and India in the arranged marriage process.”

After its release, the series garnered extreme reactions on social media and was called out by many for being casteist, sexist and for normalising colorism.

An NPR report states an instance from the series in which, after Aparna Shewakramani, a headstrong lawyer, rejects her first match because he is “not ambitious and would never move somewhere that didn’t have an ocean nearby”, Taparia says “she should not get a life partner if she is this negative.”

The eight-episode series was also called out for normalising “fair-skinned” as the most sought-after quality in a prospective candidate and for exclusively focusing on elite Indian Hindu families and thereby leaving out couples who belong to the Christian, Muslim and Dalit communities.

After the show’s release, several jokes and memes which highlight the problematic nature of the show started doing the rounds on social media.

Photo Caption: Memes on Indian Matchmaking; Credit: Twitter handles Reet and Miss Sandile

While several social media users called out the show for its regressive nature, a few pointed out that it was an honest depiction of the arranged marriage culture.

Writer Nikita Doval, sharing her experience of “matchmaking and arranged marriages” wrote on Twitter, “My parents started “looking” for a potential groom while I was in my early twenties (23, I think) because while they were very liberal, it turned out they were pretty conventional too. I wasn’t told about this “search” till two days before the boy and his parents were coming over,” adding, “I was almost always not talking enough, or not fair enough or not demure enough or, in spite of degrees from liberal arts institutes that were the best in the country and the world, not “professionally qualified” enough.”

Doval shared that she was pressured by men to make up her mind after short meetings.

In response to a post calling out the show, a netizen replied, “You mean the blatant #colourism and #casteism in the culture and religion, bit the show right? The “show” is just “showing” it. Hiding it is not going to make it disappear(sic).

According to Netflix, Indian Matchmaking was one of the most popular reality shows in Asia, in 2020.

News of the series bagging an Emmy nomination led to more memes on social media on Wednesday.

Photo Caption: Meme on Indian Matchmaking; Credit: Yuvaa Instagram handle

One netizen wrote, “What are the standards of #EmmyAwards ? Last year #EmilyinParis this year  #IndianMatchmaking.”

Other programmes that have been nominated in the same category as Indian Matchmaking include American drag queen RuPaul’s show RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked, Disney’s Becoming and Netflix’s Selling Sunset.

In the Primetime Emmy Award nominations announced on Tuesday, The Crown and The Mandalorian lead with 24 nominations each, followed by WandaVision at 23. The Emmys will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network on September 19. The event, this year, will be hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.