The following story contains spoilers from the entire season of “Indian Matchmaking.”
“Indian Matchmaking” follows Sima Taparia, who offers her traditional matchmaking services in today’s world of hyphenated identities, niche dating apps and career-driven women. Throughout the debut season of the Netflix series, she meets with South Asian singles and their families to help finesse their romantic futures, and even calls on face readers, astrologers, life coaches and fellow matchmakers for assistance.
“It’s a miracle it even got done,” said series creator Smriti Mundhra, who called all of Taparia’s clients (over 500 people!) to find singles who were willing to share their matchmaking journey on camera. Twelve initially agreed to take part in the modern twist on traditional arranged marriages, and after more than six months of filming as many first dates as they could, producers included eight participants in the final cut.
Many of the storylines wrap up with a hint at happily ever after. But did these couples last? The Times checked in with each of the arranged matches via email to see if the couples remained together.
Jagessar, a New Jersey event planner, previously had trouble dating because her family is from Guyana. “That is a part of the diaspora that is often made to feel as separate from the Indian diaspora, so it was important for us to show that she is still just as Indian as anyone else,” said Mundhra of casting her.
Even though Jagessar seemed to really hit it off with Shekar in Chicago, the two are no longer talking. “Being off camera definitely changed the dynamic between myself and the matches that I had continued talking to, and obviously, the change was not positive,” she told The Times. “But it helped me learn more about myself and what I’m looking for in a future partner.”
A Mumbai-based jewelry designer, Maloo initially didn’t appear ready to enter any kind of romantic relationship. “He faced pressures that I think we often attribute to women — that pressure to settle down and get married once at a certain age,” said Mundhra. “That tension, between his very fabulous life and those more conservative expectations, was interesting to me.”
Maloo’s date with the Delhi-based model-actress Rushali seemed so romantic, but the two are no longer seeing each other. “We had different paths in life and we respected that and moved ahead,” he told The Times. “I’m still looking for the right one.”
‘Indian Matchmaking’ joins Netflix’s growing stable of dating shows like ‘Love Is Blind’ and ‘Too Hot to Handle’ while taking on arranged marriage stereotypes.
Shewakramani, a Houston-based attorney, lit social media ablaze with her laundry list of biodata must-haves. “We picked her because she is hilarious,” said Mundhra. “We South Asian women are expected to diminish ourselves and conform to what we think is going to be attractive to partners. But Aparna knows who she is, she knows what she wants, and she is not afraid to speak her mind.”
Shewakranani went through a montage of matches, and told The Times that the cameras “surprisingly added more stress in wanting to make the match work, because it felt like so much more hinged on it.” The series left viewers wondering about her future with Jay from Atlanta, but Shewakranani is not dating any of her onscreen pairings. “They were all wonderful people,” she said. “They just weren’t the one for me.”
Ganesan, an Austin-based schoolteacher, revealed to the cameras that his family history has its complications. “In South Asian culture, people get stigmatized by their pasts, or the actions of their parents, and it’s really unfair,” said Mundhra. “We wanted to show people that if you reject someone based on these kinds of superficial things without getting to know the person, you’re going to miss out on somebody pretty great.”
The series left Ganesan’s storyline with Rashi on a cliffhanger, but he told The Times that he’s still single. “But it’s no one’s fault. Matchmaking really is tough. Both people I was matched with were truly wonderful, inspiring individuals who I’m proud to call friends. Ultimately, things didn’t work out, but I’m grateful for the memories I have from working with Sima.”
Jakhete, a Bombay-based graduate, is “the most traditional of everyone we had, as far as family structure and support,” said Mundhra. “His parents want the best for him, but there’s an intense pressure to follow a certain path.”
The series ends with Jakhete and Radhika from Udaipur participating in a pre-engagement ceremony, but the two never got formally engaged or married and are no longer together. “A few days later, there were some things which we found out that did not go down well with us, and eventually I called it off,” he told The Times, though he declined to explicitly state what those things were.
“Trust is something [that] once broken cannot be regained in a matter of days — it takes a really long time,” he continued. “I’d rather wait and be with the correct person than be stuck with the wrong person. So I am single right now and still looking for the right one.”
Though none of Taparia’s onscreen matches are still intact since filming wrapped in October, Mundhra hopes viewers fixate less on anyone’s particular relationship status and focus more on each participant’s personal growth.
“The means are more important than the end,” she said. “There’s something fascinating about watching people go through this process, and seeing what it revealed to people about themselves, about their own expectations, and about the way the tradition of arranged marriage is changing.”
That’s what Bansal, the Delhi-based entrepreneur who ultimately didn’t end up with a match, took away from the experience. “I understand the many preconceived notions associated with arranged marriages — and believe me, before going on ‘Indian Matchmaking,’ I had them too,” she told The Times.
“At the end of the day, it all comes down to a connection,” she continued. “If it’s there, you can’t deny it and it won’t matter how you two were introduced.”