The Reality TV Love and Dating format is hugely popular but has changed from its conventional Bachelor-like form, adapted by different cultures and social groups. We're zooming in on two of our favourites: Indian Matchmaking and Love on the Spectrum. ↓
INDIAN MATCHMAKING by Smrithi Mundhra
The world of arranged marriages in Indian society has been a source of dread for many young people who are nearing the ripe age when their relationship status is suddenly everyone's business. INDIAN MATCHMAKING brought to light many jarring realities of arranged marriage - a deeply patriarchal society where a girl needs to be 'flexible' in order to find a suitable match - and the downright ridiculous demands of not just the ones up for a match but their parents.
'I couldn't find the perfect man so I programmed him'
- Sam Madhu
But where INDIAN MATCHMAKING falls short is in giving adequate representation. While watching the show one gets the impression that all young Indians are eager and willing to subject themselves to this unnatural selection. Sima Taparia caters to the elite Indian society (which eliminates a huge chunk of people) and we missed the other side of this coin, the stories of many young Indians who don’t want a random aunty selecting their future life partner based on the findings of a face reader and the alignment of the stars.
MONSOON WEDDING by Meera Nair
This makes us question whose reality it is that’s on display? Funnily, in this case fiction proves to be a better representation of the truth. Famed film director Meera Nair’s 2001 BAFTA award winning film MONSOON WEDDING, available free to stream on youtube, is a more realistic portrayal of arranged marriages in modern day India. This comedic chaotic melodrama deals with big topics like unwanted arranged marriages and inter-caste marriages, all while remaining grounded and real.
LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM by Cian O'Clery
When reality TV gets it right, they got it so right! LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM was not only insightful and endearing, it was also interesting to see the maker interact with the participants, whereby the act of making a reality TV show becomes more real. By giving us a glimpse into the lives of couples on the autism spectrum, who are not participants on the show, it presents another side of the picture, and gives us more reasons to fall in love with reality TV.
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