If you’ve watched Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking, you’re likely curious about Sima Taparia, a Mumbai-based matchmaker, who travels the world trying to help her clients find arranged marriages. She does the same work as the four love experts on Married At First Sight, however, her job is primarily done solo. But just because Sima’s business is a one-woman operation, it doesn’t mean her clients — who are often accompanied by their families on dates — are any more or less successful.
Before we get into Sima’s background and life, let’s recap this fun ride of a show. First off, the series isn’t just about finding love — it’s also about complicated family dynamics and everything that comes with trying to find a life partner. And every single client is unique. As for the series’ stars, three of them are based in India, while the other four are Indian-Americans who live all over the United States. There’s a Delhi-based entrepreneur who struggles with their body image, an image-obsessed jeweler from Mumbai, an attorney from Houston with very high standards, and a Bollywood wedding planner from New Jersey who just can’t find a date, to name a few examples.
A lot is going on, to put it simply, and Sima is there to lead her clients through the process of arranged marriages. So who exactly is Sima Taparia?
Sima Taparia believes she was born to be a matchmaker
Sima Taparia entered into an arranged marriage over 30 years ago at age 19, so she knows what she’s doing when it comes to matchmaking. She has also showcased her talents before, appearing in the 2017 documentary, A Suitable Girl, that documents the struggles of three women who feel pressure to find a lifetime partner.
Although matchmaking can be challenging at times, Sima is committed to her profession. “I am an extrovert and so I am very social and I love meeting new people, talking to them and finding out little details that I lock away in my brain,” she explained to Conde Nast Traveller. “When people come to me saying they have a son, daughter, nephew, niece, or a grandchild who is looking to get married, I immediately start thinking of all the people I know of who could be a good match.”
Sima also joked about how she even matchmakes while on vacation!
One person who can attest to Sima’s constant matchmaking is Indian Matchmaking‘s director, Smriti Mundhra, who met the Mumbai resident more than 10 years ago. “She had approached my family because she had a certain diligence in keeping track of the friends and friends of friends — who has an eligible boy, or an eligible girl?” Mundhra told Decider. “So when I hit my mid-20s, she knew my family and so she was like, ‘Oh, they have a daughter. She’s not married, let me try.'”
Sima Taparia says Tinder can't compete with her
Although Sima Taparia leads the charge at her matchmaking company, Suitable Rishta, she has a team of five who help her pair singles together, which involves a lot of legwork. Sima explained to Conde Nast Traveller that she meets with the male suitor’s family first to check out their house, way of life, and all the tiny details about their background. “This helps me assess their lifestyles so I can recommend a match that is on an even keel,” the business owner shared with Conde Nast Traveller. “This is where Tinder, Bumble and Shaadi.com can’t compete. I get to the bottom of things, finding out all the inside stories, the family’s values and other such details you would never get from looking at a person’s online profile.”
Another difference between Sima’s business and online dating sites? Her work is driven by word of mouth, as she revealed in the same interview. She added, “I only work with high-profile clients. In India when I meet clients they usually have a working wedding budget in mind. So based on that golden number, I quote my price that I charge as a lump sum.” Fancy, huh?
Despite Sima’s success, not everyone is thrilled with the show or her methods.
Sima Taparia's work didn't impress everyone
Some people aren’t big fans of Indian Matchmaking or Sima Taparia’s methods. “Watching Indian Matchmaking on Netflix and the casualness with which people keep repeating the requirement that matches be ‘fair’ is…disconcerting,” tweeted novelist Ayelet Waldman. Although Waldman didn’t elaborate on what she meant, she might have been addressing the concern that clients are discriminatory against potential matches who have darker complexions.
Another Twitter user wrote, “I have begun watching Indian Matchmaking and Sima Taparia scares me.” Someone else tweeted, “Indian Matchmaking is a regressive show that shows everything wrong with our obsession with marriage and family pressures. But it’s entertaining as hell.”
Another wrote that the show is “cringey,” and yet another person called it regressive, too, but also noted that it is a reality for many people. When it comes to the colorism criticism, Taparia defended the show. “But who doesn’t want a fair, beautiful wife, you tell me? Women are educated and empowered so why shouldn’t they have as much of a say in who they marry,” she told Conde Nast Traveller. “So many of the women I have been trying to match up have rejected the matches I presented them with because they don’t want to settle either.”
Either way, Taparia’s business is booming, and it’s at least starting conversations.
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