In season two, Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking finally digs deep into the intricacies of the rollercoaster ride that desi men and women experience in their quest to find a ‘match’ and goes beyond superficial, surface-level stuff. In the first season, the show about matchmaker Sima Taparia looked like it was out to mock the concept of arranged marriages and was meant for white people who would never be able to wrap their heads around the concept.
By bringing back characters we met in season one, the makers of Indian Matchmaking are able to better show the struggles of 30-somethings looking to find the right partner, and just how frustrating that experience can be. But in doing so, it also dodges the usual temptation of objectifying women, disseminating old-school ideas and tiptoes around caste. Season two is proof that producers took serious note of the feedback the Netflix show received in season one.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a boring season obsessed with the sociological dimensions of finding a partner through a matchmaker—it’s just as catty, gossipy, and spicy. Newer characters, especially Viral, a 30-year-old fiercely independent Gujarati woman, even pickier about her choices than the legendary Aparna, are great additions to the show. The tension and chemistry between Sima and Viral are similar but at the same time different from the one between Sima and Aparna.
Comeback of season one characters
In the first four episodes, we are greeted by three familiar faces: Nadia, Aparna and Pradyuman, who continue where they left off. Two out of three are still on the lookout for a partner.
While Pradyumann looks quite happy with two new restaurants and an attractive, fashionable girlfriend by his side, Nadia and Aparna are still looking to get married.
Aparna looks calmer and more real than she did in the first season. Her sass is intact, but her arrogance that was off-putting for some seems to have been toned down. There is a vulnerability now. Not sure if it’s ‘media training’, or if Aparna has warmed up enough to let us see her ‘softer side’, there is a character arc visible. And isn’t that what great shows are about? Her current chemistry with Jai, a man we were introduced to last season, was great, and it really makes you want to stand up and yell at the TV in frustration: “what’s wrong with you, woman”, as Aparna chooses to overlook him.
Unfortunately, much like in season one of Indian Matchmaking, Nadia gets rejected again. One can’t help but empathise with the ever-smiling woman who is clearly into ‘bad boys’, leaving the good ones behind. But hey, it’s not criminal to want passionate love. The breakup between Nadia and Vishal, a 26-year-old man she was dating, makes for excellent TV. But is one of those ‘real’ moments that are rare on screen. After the breakup, Nadia chooses to be really vulnerable in front of the camera. “There are only so many times one can hear, you’re so great, you’re so fantastic, but I don’t want to be with you,” she says.
These moments give newer, more personal dimensions to the characters we see on Indian Matchmaking. It also reduces the white gaze that loomed large on the show.
A changed Sima Aunty
Now, to the main character. Since the blockbuster season one of Indian Matchmaking, ‘Sima aunty’ has really brought positive changes to how she conducts business. She has replaced the word ‘compromise’ with ‘patience’, and she has stopped schooling women on how to conduct themselves.
When she lists down her frustrations with people, she’s still the same nagging aunty we’ve grown to love. She continues to pass sneaky comments about her clients. Her best dialogue is reserved for a man named Akshay, who supplies machinery to poultry farms and is obsessed with chickens. “He needs to get over chickens,” she says with a touch of dry humour.
You also get to know her more intimately. Sima lives on the edge. She video calls people in the middle of a shoot with 15 per cent battery on her phone. Boss move. She also doesn’t think Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas are a good match. “He’s so small and petite, she looks so much elder to him,” she says, with ease. Daily gossip, after all.
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(Edited by Srinjoy Dey)