Mismatched is based on Sandhya Menon’s young adult novel When Dimple Met Rishi. It follows the two polar opposite protagonists and their oddball group of friends as they compete against each other to build the best app at a summer camp in Jaipur.
Meet the crew
The premise of Mismatched is pretty interesting. Say hello to Dimple Ahuja (Prajakta Koli). She’s seriously brainy, fast-talking girl next door whose dreams are not in sync with her parents’ plan of getting her married. On the other side of the spectrum is Rishi Singh Shekhawat (Rohit Saraf), who’s 18 going on 35. He’s a hopeless romantic, wants a love story like his grandparents and believes in happily ever after. Rishi’s best friend is Namrata Bidasari (Devyani Shorey), a closeted lesbian who’s just the right amount of sweet, supportive and sassy. After an avoidable comedy of errors, Dimple finds herself on her way to Jaipur to attend a three-month coding camp to build apps. Guess who’s waiting there for her? Ding ding ding! That’s right, it’s Rishi! Except he’s under the impression that he’s meeting his future wife; something Dimple’s parents conveniently forgot to inform her about. Their meeting goes about as well as the recent US Presidential debate – she storms off after dunking her cold coffee on him. However, since there are still five more episodes to go, you just know they’re going to implement the opposites attract trope, and Dimple and Rishi will be making heart eyes at each other soon.
Which brings us to the other memorable characters. Zeenat Karim (Vidya Malvade) at 41 is the oldest student in the class and clearly, the butt of jokes when it comes to millennial lingo. Dimple’s roommate is Celina Matthews (Muskaan Jaferi), who rocks purple hair, is a self-proclaimed badass and shares delightful chemistry with Namrata. Then there’s the rich bitch squad comprising Anmol Malhotra (Taaruk Raina), Harsh Agarwal (Vihaan Samat), Simran (Kritika Bharadwaj) and Krish (Abhinav Sharma). And rounding off the group is Rannvijay Singh’s, Professor Siddhartha Sinha.
It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck
Right off the bat, Mismatched reels you in with its impeccable casting and tonality. There are so many teen shows (we’re looking at you Riverdale) in which the cast does not look or sound like teenagers. The efforts of writers, Ghazal Dhaliwal, Sunayna Kumari and Arash Vora, pay off as all the characters fluently speak in the vernacular millennials do. It also helps the cast share palpable chemistry with each other; when they hang out, you believe they’re friends, foes or more.
The curse of the second half
After the episode four mark, the creators do a volte-face and decide to throw in superfluous drama that is uncharacteristic of the sweet vibe they’d built up. Their well-constructed characters start behaving atypically. Suddenly, an online gaming competition upstages the coding competition, skeletons in the closet are revealed in the most cumbersome manner and you actually wonder if this is the same show you were watching a few hours ago. Frankly, by the time the last episode rolls, you’ve lost interest, patience and any ability to feel empathy for the characters. The truth is, Mismatched isn’t sure if it’s a love story or a coming of age story. The problem is, while the writers were bang on the buck getting the characters and their voice right, they probably didn’t get the memo about getting what kind of story they wanted to tell. Sometimes, too many cooks do spoil the broth.
Some performances are the only thing worth watching for
Prajakata Koli is a YouTube sensation with over 5.8 million subscribers. Vivacious and expressive, she injects her frothy personality into Dimple Ahuja, giving us a highly likeable leading lady. Rohit Saraf’s Rishi is sweet, vulnerable and occasionally makes enough of a fool of himself to endear himself to you. Vidya Malvade doesn’t really have much do to, and we wish her Zeenat had been given a backstory because the actor is really compelling whenever she’s on-screen. Muskaan Jafrei and Devyani Shorey have some of the cutest on-screen moments followed by (spoiler alert) a really nasty face-off where both the ladies shine.
WATCH OR NOT
This romantic comedy is sweet, funny and relatable…till the halfway mark.
Directors: Akarsh Khurana, Nipun Dharmadhikari
Cast: Prajakta Koli, Rohit Saraf, Vidya Malvade, Rannvijay Singh, Devyani Shorey, Muskaan Jafrei
Streaming on: Netflix