Changing the rules of matchmaking
Netflix show Indian Matchmaking has helped many matchmakers get good opportunities
The pandemic has not only changed how weddings are celebrated but also the way matchmakers function. Apart from a dip in business, matchmakers are also seeing a change in the approach towards arranged marriages. While some feel that matchmaking is losing its charm — of meeting in person and visiting each other’s homes — others say that Covid-19 has made people more open and outgoing.
“It is interesting to see how people across the world have adapted to the effects of the pandemic when it comes to weddings; India is no different. Having worked with numerous families over the past year-and-a-half, we have had to work around multiple solutions to ensure everyone’s interests and priorities are taken care of,” celebrity matchmaker Seema Taparia, who shot to fame with popular Netflix show Indian Matchmaking, had said during her recent visit to Hyderabad.
Matchmakers in the city speak to CE about how the pandemic has affected the business and the changes happening in the industry. Konala Bhagya Lakshmi Reddy, who runs Sri Sobhagya Marriage Bureau, is disappointed with the way her business is going. “Earlier, we used to get a good number of clients. But now, things have changed. People prefer to go through profiles online and not meet in person. Men living abroad, who want to marry women living in India, are finding it extremely difficult to meet. They do not want to risk traveling during a pandemic. Even if we go on a house visit, only four of us visit. Matchmaking is losing its charm,” she says.
However, Rakhi Kankaria, the founder of Rachanautsov Wedding, feels that Indian Matchmaking, which was nominated for the Emmy’s this year, has helped many like her get good opportunities during the pandemic. “Matchmakers were never so visible until Seema Taparia came into the limelight. It used to be a typical commissionable service, wherein a matchmaker introduces two families, sets them up and gets out of the scene. Seema has changed the entire perspective of those who are in this business,” says Rakhi.
“We should understand that this is an age-old tradition. When profiles reach a matchmaker, the latter calls it a Rs 1 core or a Rs 5 crore file. They don’t look at these people as people, but prospective business. Love marriages and online portals have changed the game. The traditional formula of matchmaking is to first match the horoscope. Ever since the pandemic, matchmakers now have more time to research about the family,” she says.
On the other hand Piyush Agarwal, the founder of Evento Entertainments and who has been in the events industry for seven years now, says the pandemic has brought him good business. “I don’t know how far it has changed for matchmakers, but the wedding event industry is growing. We get to show our work in a better way and Hyderabadis are looking at weddings differently,” he says.