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    Not Just ‘Indian Matchmaking’, These 7 Reality Shows & Films Celebrate Arranged Marriages

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    Matchmakers’ Paradise!
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    Matchmakers’ Paradise!

    July saw the premiere of reality television web series ‘Indian Matchmaking’ on Netflix.. The show, which has generated a lot of buzz online, follows Sima Taparia, a high-profile matchmaker from Mumbai who sets couples up with prospective matches.

    While the show has triggered a debate on sexism, colourism and racism, it has managed to throw the spotlight on the age-old Indian custom of arranged marriage. However, ‘Indian Matchmaking’ is not the first show to do that.

    Over the last two decades, several Bollywood films and reality TV shows have explored the concept of arranged marriages in their own way and have done justice to the theme. Here’s a look at some of them.

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    ‘Arrange Me A Marriage’ (2007)
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    ‘Arrange Me A Marriage’ (2007)

    We have seen plenty American TV shows put their ‘spin’ on the age-old Indian custom of arranged marriages, but ‘Arrange Me A Marriage’ is a reality show which portrayed how British couples view the concept.

    The show is about the central figure, Aneela Rahman, a Glasgow based British-Asian marriage arranger, who gets her family and friends to network together and find the perfect partner for the contestants in a four-week period.

    After Rahman has vetted and met the potential matches, the contestant/singleton is given a choice of two potential matches, from which with the guidance of their family and a brief biography – but no photograph – they choose one match.

    Each episode culminates in an Asian-style introduction party, where the contestant/singleton meets their chosen match together with both sets of family and friends. The episodes end with updates on how the matches are or not getting on.

    The show lasted only one season and had five episodes.

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    ‘Rahul Mahajan Ka Swayamwar’ (2010)
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    ‘Rahul Mahajan Ka Swayamwar’ (2010)

    Fresh out of the reality show ‘Bigg Boss 2’, reality TV star and son of the late politician, Pramod Mahajan, Rahul Mahajan participated in the show ‘Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega’, a follow-up to Rakhi Sawant’s mega-successful ‘Swayamwar’ series, where Mahajan had to choose his life partner from the prospective brides.

    Dimpy from Kolkata went on to win the show and married Mahajan in a televised ceremony. The two, however, split next year and filed for divorce soon after. If you loved watching ‘Indian Matchmaking’, you will most certainly enjoy watching this matrimonial reality TV show.

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    ‘Arranged’ (2015)
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    ‘Arranged’ (2015)

    Are arranged marriages doomed from the start and bound to end in divorce? Or is there some hope for the age-old marriage union that can make modern romance work? To find the answer to the question, the reality show ‘Arranged’ put together three couples with the explicit purpose of forging a marital union.

    The couples are from different backgrounds, with highly opinionated family members and the cameras follow them as they navigate the rocky road starting from their wedding day to the married bliss. The show spanned over two seasons and each season explored the lives of three couples.

    Interestingly, all 6 couples that the show put the spotlight on - from the ‘it’ couple Maneka and Mayur to David and Taylor are still happily married and are going strong. Speaks volumes about arranged marriages, doesn’t it?

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    ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!’ (1994)
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    ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!’ (1994)

    The 1994 romantic drama starring Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit, will make you fall in love with the idea of arranged marriages. The movie is an ode to the age-old custom and shows the pomp, show and the grandeur of celebrations that come with arranged marriages.

    While Mohnish Behl and Renuka Shahane's arranged marriage won everyone’s hearts, it was Prem (Khan) and Nisha’s (Dixit) romance that stole the spotlight. The little moments of mischief and blooming romance in the family setting scripted by Sooraj Barjatya of Rajshri Films showed how arranged marriages, too, can lead to love.

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    ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ (1999)
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    ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ (1999)

    The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film starring Aishwarya Rai, Ajay Devgn and Salman Khan, showed that arranged marriages can go a long way, so much so, that they can also overpower your first love. The movie showed that love can bloom between people with opposite personalities.

    In the process of finding Sameer (Khan) in Italy, Nandini (Rai) opens up to Vanraj (Devgn) and eventually falls in love with him. Eventually, it was not Nandini’s desire or her first love but her arranged marriage with Vanraj that triumphed. The film is a true-blue celebration of arranged marriage love.

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    ‘Namastey London’ (2007)
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    ‘Namastey London’ (2007)

    The 2007 romantic comedy drama starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif perfectly portrays the nuances of an arranged marriage and what it entails, in the long run. Not only that, the film shows how the bond between two people in an arranged marriage can cut across cultures, geographies and lifestyles to emerge triumphant.

    Jasmeet (Kaif) is tricked into marrying Arjun (Kumar) in an arranged marriage. She despises him at first, but soon after going through incidents which expose the stereotypical attitude of her British counterparts towards Indians, Jasmeet decides to stay with Arjun in India, and be married to him.

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    ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ (2008)
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    ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ (2008)

    Starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma, ‘Rab Ne Bana De Jodi’ is another film which portrays the power that lies in arranged marriages. Even though Taani (Sharma) feels nothing for Surinder Sahni (Khan) at first, Sahni manages to win over Taani with his love and dedication.

    He even undergoes a makeover to spend more time with her. His efforts to kindle a spark in their 'marriage of convenience' do not go to waste, as she falls for him as well at the end.

    Arranged marriages for the screen win? You could say so!

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