With the cricket World Cup going on, I have been watching a lot of Willow TV. There are a lot of NRI targeted ads, but one in particular irritates me considerably. It doesn’t help, either, that given the frequency of ads and the constant repetition, I watch this particular ad quite a few times everyday. I am referring to the Bharat matrimony ad.
To me, it typifies everything that is wrong with how one can depict arranged marriages.
Okay, I can understand the part on the proposal to marry “Amy” meeting with stiff resentment while “Amritha Khanna” is much more acceptable. Fine, we Indians like our children to marry people of Indian origin. You can take objection to this too, but I’ll give it a pass, it’s understandable – for shared values, culture and all those reasons.
Though, Amritha’s own “Indianness” is a little open to question, given she feels the need to rename herself Amy when she has a perfectly pronounceable name. (Also, what’s with the “h” in Amritha? That’s a South Indian way of spelling it, hardly one a Khanna would use).
But what’s much more interesting is how Ms. Khanna introduces herself. She says nothing about herself, or what she does, but her first words are “My father is a doctor in New York”. This piece of information apparently results in instant acceptance by the boy’s family. Since doctors in NYC don’t exactly live in penury, apparently all we need to know to make her a perfectly acceptable bride is that she is of Indian origin and has a rich father.
Is this really how they want to depict arranged marriages? I come away with the message that we may now be modern enough to use a website to find brides, but in the end all we want is that the bride should be pretty and rich, and her interests and personality are, as always, a non-issue.
I’m guessing it’s hard to find a crasser ad from a matrimonial website. I’m not saying such thinking never happens; I’m sure there are people who think and match-make along these lines. But what I find myself wishing is that Bharat matrimony wouldn’t make this kind of thinking sound acceptable or admirable.