Readers Write In #305: Mismatched On Netflix Is More Miss Than Match

Posted on November 22, 2020

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(by Vikas Yadav)

Based on the novel “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon, the new coming-of-age romance on Netflix titled Mismatched is more miss than match. The USP here is clearly the lead Prajakta Koli, the MostlySane on YouTube, playing 17-year-old Dimple Ahuja with a love for Java and an ambition of developing apps. Her mother has different plans. She dedicates her energy to finding a boy for Dimple. Yes, she is 17 but age is just a number, right? As far as she is concerned, Dimple can start an Internet cafe and simultaneously perform the role of a wife. When asked why such a hurry, she explains that the task of finding “The Right One” is time-consuming, and so one must start as early as possible. When she is offered a summer course at Aravalli Institute, Jaipur, her mother agrees for admission – a surprising decision that initially leaves Dimple high on respect and love for her mother. Dimple’s father gives approval too. Little does Dimple know about the matchmaking scheme.

Enter Rishi (Rohit Saraf), a mild-mannered 18-year-old Rajput who falls for Dimple, at first sight, thanks to the photo on the matrimonial site. He is a filmy, hopeless romantic whose stalker-y nature is shadowed by Saraf’s innocent face (typical movie hero stuff). He finds her college and takes admission to be in close proximity. But Rishi and Dimple are endearing, and so you may find yourself rooting for them to get together, albeit not every time. Supporting RIshi in his quest, along comes Namrata (Devyani Shorey), his life-long best friend. She is close enough to let others speculate on them being a couple. Even Rishi’s grandmother thinks their marriage would be right. Best friends not acknowledging romance. Now, where have I seen this before? Mismatched gives a justification for their “just friends” relationship status, which honestly felt like an indolent effort towards the inclusion of a gay romance. Why the hell can’t a straight boy and a straight girl be just friends?

It’s not that they go anywhere remotely engaging with the queer angle. I could spot the twist from miles away due to its particular way of straining on this specific aspect. Predictability is not an issue if treated with a solid beat. Unfortunately, that beat is missing. Some interesting characters like Zeenat (Vidya Malavade), a 41-year-old student among the teenagers trying to start afresh, and a cool I-don’t-care Professor Siddharth Sinha (Rannvijay Singha) remain on the surface. The writing is too weak to do any justice. All you get are half-baked ideas. As if gay subversion was not enough, Mismatched seemingly avoids a love triangle with Vihaan’s character only to confirm your notions as a cliffhanger for the finale. Talking of finale, Mismatched shoehorns a weird gaming match lacking in basic thrill or excitement. You know who will be crowned as the winner. The commentators in our films and shows are not improving anytime soon.

That is not to say Mismatched is all bugs and no fun. It is entertaining to watch the enactments whenever a new idea for an app is pitched. I liked the one about rich and poor and another about an anti-social app. Somewhere in Mismatched, there is a gutsy idea trying to expose the problematic nature of falling head over heels with someone you meet on the Internet. These moments reveal themselves at certain points, like in the scene where Dimple finds out a secret relating to Rishi’s parents. Then there is the case of broken trust that contributes to the season finale. Unfortunately, they are not polished enough to shine with meritorious intensity. Going forward, I suspect the show, instead of building on this idea, would fall under a rom-com cliche.

If introspected from another direction, one can blame Mismatched’s generic treatment on the plans for the second season. But then, there must be something to hold on to so that the viewers could return with some enthusiasm. And it doesn’t help when you spend time thinking about the arc of a rickshaw wala. I mean, the autos on the campus lose their customers because someone on their vehicle would come and pick them up. However, not towards the end when a character finally uses an auto to commute to her destination. It is definitely not a good sign for the show when your mind focuses on trivial issues, deviating from the main characters and their problems. Mismatched contains errors in specific lines that need to be debugged.