Indian Matchmaking star Nadia Jagessar sets the record straight
Indian Matchmaking star Nadia Jagessar has been named and shamed as a “heart breaker” and deemed “selfish” on social media ever since season two of the hit Netflix show aired on 10 August.
But now Nadia, who was searching for a life partner, wants to clear the air in a freewheeling conversation with The Independent and delve into how the show’s production team had a role in making it look like she was drawn into a love triangle.
“She’s so toxic” was a sentiment some viewers shared about the New Jersey-based event planner after she “dumped” contestant Shekar Jayaraman and began dating comedian Vishal Kalyanasundaram.
Her storyline continued from season one where Mumbai’s leading matchmaker Sima Taparia introduced her to Chicago-based lawyer Shekar – and they had a lovely first date. When it was revealed Nadia would return for another season, excited fans hoped she’d finally find what she was looking for this time around.
But the new season had its own twists and turns.
According to the show, Nadia “broke Shekar’s heart” and fell for Vishal. In one scene, Shekar spotted Nadia and Vishal making out soon after she had introduced Shekar to her family which – Nadia tells The Independent – was a very informal get-together.
She says Shekar came over to her parents’ house like “any other friend does”. The sequence in which the drama unfolded wasn’t taken kindly to by viewers and led them to crown Nadia with the title of “the heart-breaker”.
Long after season two released, social media users continued to attack Nadia for being “selfish” and “getting caught up in a messy love triangle”.
But Nadia now details how the post-production team “Frankenstein bit” her to make it look as though she cheated on Shekar.
“Shekar and I initially met in season one, in 2019,” she tells The Independent, revealing a “two-year gap” between the filming of the first and second seasons. She also says she was “initially” indeed “talking frequently to” Shekar and “they met”, but “it didn’t work out”.
According to Nadia, they lost touch and reconnected again when Indian Matchmaking’s first season released in 2020.
“We spoke on FaceTime just like everybody else was [due to the pandemic] and I had a boyfriend at the time,” she reveals. So, of the two years between the seasons, Nadia was dating someone else for a year – and Shekar “knew” about this.
“I think the audiences’ perception of what happened was not taking into account the fact that during the two years in between, [Shekar] and I were never exclusive or dating or anything like that,” explains Nadia.
The TV personality of Indian and Guyanese descent says viewers tend to take reality shows “at face value” instead of “realising things are meant for entertainment and commentary”. Acknowledging that many times storylines of such shows are converted into social media talking points, however, Nadia wishes discussions could be centred more around “breaking dating stereotypes, norms or opening conversations to South Asian communities”.
Nadia also addressed Shekar’s teary-eyed monologue after a confrontation with her from Indian Matchmaking season two’s second episode.
“I’m not anyone to throw anyone under the bus or say anything negatively,” Shekar said in the show. “I’ll say this much. I don’t get frustrated often... [but this time] I’m frustrated.”
“I was actually pretty shocked to see his reaction,” says Nadia. “Because it was never communicated to me that he ever had very strong feelings or ever wanted to pursue anything further than just friendship, so I had no idea he felt that way.”
She added that if she knew what was going on, she would have been more “sensitive to it” and further says they “maybe could’ve been something more serious”.
Talking about the negative response to the show, Nadia says she was hurt: “In the first two weeks, it was really tough to focus and tune out the noise.” At the moment, the reality TV star is still trying to hold her ground. One thing she wishes is for people to understand that Indian Matchmaking “isn’t a competition, this is actually our real lives” enriched with real experiences.
As for season three, Nadia says she won’t be part of a matchmaking journey with Sima aunty any longer as she is currently in a relationship.