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With the announcement of the 73rd Emmy Award nominations yesterday came a surprise twist for Indian viewers: Indian Matchmaking was nominated for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program.
It is nominated in the same category as Netflix’s Selling Sunset, Bravo’s Below Deck, Disney’s Becoming and Vh1’s Rupaul’s Drag Race Untucked.
Indian Matchmaking and its memorable lead Sima Taparia made waves upon its release last year. For Western audiences, it was an entertaining, surprising, and somewhat shocking look into the tradition of arranged marriages.
However, many Indian viewers pointed out the show’s problematic content, including colourism, classism, and body shaming. In one instance, a woman is rejected for being ‘too demanding’ while another candidate’s mum hopes that marriage will make him ‘grow up’. ‘Sima aunty’, too, tested many a viewer’s patience with her traditional outlook of marriages.
On the flip side, others maintained that it wasn’t Netflix’s responsibility to explain the nuances of Indian culture, and that the show should be taken at face value as mere entertainment.
Understandably, responses to Indian Matchmaking’s Emmy nomination are mixed.
Indian Matchmaking nominated in the category Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
Didn’t expect this at all😳#Emmys
— Sudeshna (@BhatraiSudeshna) July 13, 2021
Indian Matchmaking getting an Emmy nom is the kind of encouragement my cringe-sensibility needs, but the rest of the world definitely doesn’t.
— Farheen Raaj (@BhookiIndian) July 13, 2021
Honestly, Indian Matchmaking was the best and most binge-able show of last year.
Culturally cut through across the world, spread like fire through word of mouth, and was cast amazingly with one liners comedy writers could only dream of writing… Totally deserves to win. https://t.co/YFR40ciSfW
— Abbyrami (@abbyckumar) July 14, 2021
Indian matchmaking is getting a Emmy nomination but for what?
— Bhashi V (@bhashithinks) July 14, 2021
WHY IN THE WORLD WAS INDIAN MATCHMAKING NOMAINATED FOR AN EMMY??????? pic.twitter.com/9qNg0jzB33
— Rajvi 💀 (@RajviDesai31) July 14, 2021
While the final winners will be announced in September, it remains questionable if Indian Matchmaking is the best foot forward for Indian representation on the big stage. It boasts of the high production value promised by Netflix original programm, but its overarching theme of arranged marriage and inability to challenge patriarchal norms leave it in dangerously no man’s land.
The nomination has left social media wondering: should a show that viewers love to hate win an Emmy?
Meanwhile, another Indian link in this year’s Emmy Awards is Padma Lakshmi. Nominated for Outstanding Host For A Reality or Competition Program for her work on Top Chef, this marks her 11th Emmy nomination. She competes against Nicole Byer (Nailed It), the cast of Queer Eye, RuPaul, and the notorious sharks from Shark Tank.
This year’s frontrunners are the latest season of The Crown and the first season of The Mandalorian with 24 nominations each.
The 73rd Emmy Awards are all set to take place on 19 September.
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