Melbourne has by far the largest community of young Indians in Australia. Twenty-nine-year-old Dalvinder grew up in Australia with traditional Sikh parents. She’s now under pressure to get married before she turns 30. “In the Indian community, when you reach your late twenties, everyone’s like ‘Oh, when are you getting married? When’s your daughter getting married? When’s your sister getting married’... it’s like chicken going off.”
In order to please her dad she opens an account with the world’s largest matrimonial website, Shaadi.com. After a month of dating suitors that fail to impress, she takes matters into her own hands and looks for a partner on Tinder. There she meets 29-year-old tradie Shamsher – who is not the sort of man she was looking for at all. In fact he’s a traditional Sikh and a lot like her own father.
Tarun is also 29 and grew up in a middle class Hindu family in India. He’s been in Melbourne for a decade and has a good job in finance. But something’s missing. He’s lonely, and his parents back home are urging him to marry, or he will bring shame on the family. “I have to get married. If I do not get married by thirty, I will be considered as damaged goods.”
So Tarun embarks on a rollercoaster journey of speed dating, online searches, and even a trip to India in the hope of finding his perfect match. But as his 30th birthday looms, he realises he can’t do it alone – he must turn to his dad for help.
For Dalvinder and Tarun, the search for love is fraught with difficulty as they try to balance the expectations and beliefs of their Indian-born parents, who are increasingly at odds with the values of Australia and with their own hopes and dreams. Surprisingly, arranged marriage remains the preference for many young Indians who are now returning to the tried-and-true methods of the past, despite living in a culture obsessed with romantic love. But add the stress of class and caste barriers – and the inevitable fluttering heart – and it’s clear the path to ‘love and marriage’ is not without twists and turns.
Indian Wedding Race follows the trials and tribulations of these two young Indian Australians in their search for love. There’s sure to be broken hearts and high-drama as each navigates their own path to their dream ‘big, fat Indian wedding’.
Indian Wedding Race, the first documentary in three-part series Untold Australia, aired 13 April on SBS.