'Mismatched' never makes you feel like any part of that is out of place
Although touted as a romance, ‘Mismatched’ places debutante Prajakta Koli and Rohit Saraf as students who are romantically linked. However, the trailer promises much more than that in this Netflix and RSVP presentation, which is an adaptation of ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon. Is it all enough to keep the viewers engaged?
When Rishi (Saraf) wants to marry, his grandmother (Suhasini Mulay) goes about finding the perfect girl. Out of all the photos, Rishi zeroes in on Dimple (Koli) because her photo is unfiltered and without make-up. When Dadi calls Dimple’s family, she realises she’s on her way to Jaipur on a three-month computer course and she encourages Rishi to enrol too. The two meet in college when Rishi goes up to Dimple, with his friend Namrata (Devyani Shorey), and greets her with “Hello future wife”. Koli throws her cold coffee all over him, saying “creep!” Will they eventually be able to find some common ground? Or will they remain opposites?
Directed by Akarsh Khurana and Nipun Dharmadhikari, this six-episode series is entertaining enough but maybe its most interesting aspect – pretty much as will other college romances – is that the colourful ensemble cast that is the USP, undoubtedly. With a foreign student, an older student, a teacher-obsessed student, a social media influencer student and others, the story of ‘Mismatched’ comes to life with all the characters who bring their own personalities to the mix. Khurana and Dharmadhikari bring out each character and each back-story as much as they can, enabling the viewers to really feel how college life can truthfully be. Although more centred on Koli and her ambitions to create an app, which is what the course is about, there are different scenarios and themes running through the series which create an interesting ambience. With homosexuality and its taboo, skin tone, disability and facilities, the stigma attached to older learning, and much more, ‘Mismatched’ never makes you feel like any part of that is out of place.
Koli as Dimple is unbelievably convincing – so much so that it’s so hard to see any other actress in this role. Her chemistry with Saraf (Rishi) is really the film’s most endearing part as they manoeuvre through their class mates relationship, the people around them and also their own feelings. Saraf gives an applauseworthy performance as the guy who falls in love almost instantly and then wants to see it through. Vidya Malavade as the older student Zeenat is great in the few scenes she has. Rannvijay Singha as the teacher is one of the best characters as he tackles younger egos in class and his performance in this role is also pretty decent. His chemistry with Malavade was interesting and, as cliche as it sounds, could’ve done with going up a couple of bases in the cuteness stakes. The rest of the cast including Taaruk Raina, Vihaan Samat, Muskkaan Jaferi, Devyani Shorey, Kritika Bharadwaj and others make a sizeable contribution to the six episodes.
‘Mismatched’ could do with a season two but only because the ending made way for one, because it’s not exactly happy. However, more of a reason would be if it managed to keep things light which is usually what’s expected of these kinds of shows. It all gets too serious too often, unfortunately, and you forget you are meant to be watching a coming-of-age, breezy romance. Gazal Dhaliwal’s adaptation provides some real food for thought throughout and does give much potential for where the story could go. However, as standalone six-episodes, ‘Mismatched’ seems to lose its way a little, particularly towards the end.