After three seasons of Indian Matchmaking, it’s finally time to put the show to our famous fake/scripted test. We’ve subjected Dated And Related, Perfect Match, Outlast, Below Deck, The Mole, and Love Is Blind to the test. Now it’s time to ask, Is Indian Matchmaking Scripted? Fans have speculated on the fakeness of the couples, how some participants just vanish, and whether it’s an accurate portrayal of dating in Indian communities. However, there is a big difference between show participants behaving in a fake way, and the show itself being fake. Also, the show is definitely edited to produce a narrative, but that might not mean the show itself is scripted. In the end it really comes down to what you mean by “fake” or “scripted.” Let’s review the evidence that we have and decide once and for all.
Is Indian Matchmaking Scripted? Production Tricks
The Netflix reality formula is very carefully followed and we’ve noticed some tells that give away when a show is scripted. And, unfortunately for the conspiracy-minded among us, very few of them seem to apply to Indian Matchmaking. There aren’t any obvious major plot points that come out of left field like on Dated and Related. There are no obvious continuity or editing errors like those we caught on Love Is Blind, Perfect Match or Outlast. The date locations may be preselected, but there are no fake missions or challenges like The Mole or some of the other dating shows where there’s a competition.
Looking at the end credits of an episode reveals that yes, the show does have “story producers”. But there are only one or two on Indian Matchmaking compared to several on the other shows. There are quite a few editors on the show, but editors edit the show after it’s finished. Obviously the show fits a narrative and anything that doesn’t fit that narrative gets cut out. That’s why we get all the dropped story threads and why cast members disappear. This is different from someone directing the action and scripting fake drama like the kind you see frequently on Below Deck.
There are also no podcasts from staff or participants speaking out, no leaked texts or scandals, and no evidence of staff coaching the participants. These are pretty standard on the other, more scripted Netflix shows, but not here. Maybe that’s why Indian Matchmaking isn’t as popular as those other shows?
Is Indian Matchmaking Scripted? Cast Members Say No
Everyone remembers Aparna Shewakramani from the first two seasons. The outspoken ex-lawyer is controversial and very critical, but nobody has ever accused her of being a liar. So when she says that the show is not scripted at all, she has quite a bit of credibility. Her whole brand rests on her being unafraid to say exactly what she thinks. She says, “I think it would lose its vulnerability and charm if anyone got involved and started scripting anything.” Then we have season 2 “villain” Nadia Jagessar, who had her own opportunity to speak out.
Nadia was subject to her own backlash over her callous treatment of Shekhar Jayamaran and subsequent dumping by player comedian Vishal Kal. If she could have accused the show of scripting or being fake, she would have out of self interest. Yet in this interview she doesn’t even give the “bad edit” excuse. Instead, she says, “So many people asked if this was staged or scripted or fake in any way and I can assure you it wasn’t (at least not from my end)!” One of her unsuccessful dates, Vinay Chadha, does blame an edit for making him look bad but doesn’t call the show scripted.
In fact, across all three seasons, none of the show’s participants have called out the show or the dates for being fake or manipulated. Instead, they criticize the people they were matched with or Sima Taparia. Minor characters, like season 3’s Namrata, have gone on Reddit and done exactly this. As she says, Vikash Mishra being his unlikeable self was the reason they broke up, which is completely plausible if you’ve seen the episode, and him. Nobody from Netflix has stopped this commentary from appearing in the world the way they do with their other shows.
However, some of the cast, like model Rushali Rai, appear to want to star on the show for fame over truly finding love. A lot of the cast appear to want to up their clout. It doesn’t help that Sima Aunty has a terrible track record of setting people up on the show. It doesn’t help that Sima’s fees are paid by Netflix, so there’s no monetary stakes for the cast members.
Is Indian Matchmaking Scripted? Hitting Home
But perhaps the biggest reason the show isn’t scripted is that people within the Indian community accept it as real. Fans have criticized Sima Aunty for being outdated and for not arranging successful marriages on the show. But then they criticize the participants for being excessively picky and wanting 11/10 when they are 5/10. In some cases, they say contestants are closeted or only wanting to get married because of family/cultural pressure. It can’t be both ways, and as we’ve pointed out repeatedly, the entire thread of Season 3 is how Sima keeps getting impossible clients. One thing nobody does is say that Sima Aunty isn’t a serious matchmaker, or that she’s not practicing authentic Indian Matchmaking. Instead, they write Reddit threads about how the participants make ABCD’s (American Born Confused Desis) look bad.
Comments like this one from AnnaK22 make the point clearly: “Men are coddled their whole life by their mothers that they never mature. When they get married, they don’t gain a wife, but a second mother.” Or this whole thread which is titled, “Indian Matchmaking is revealing the ugly traits of our community.” Nobody in these threads claim the show is fake — instead they say the toxic people are too relatable. If the relationships seem fake, that’s probably because the people in those relationships are fake or seem fake in front of the camera. Remember — the people on the show are, in part, doing this for clout. Netflix is just obliging.
In conclusion, Indian Matchmaking is a heavily edited and often biased show. However it doesn’t appear heavily scripted or staged, and is more authentic than the other reality TV Netflix shows.