Let’s walk you through the most likable romantic comedy of 2020. “Mismatched,” a Netflix Original rom-com, is the streaming giant’s foray into India’s new-age college romance, which is a mix of everything. Love, ambition, drive, sexual awakening, first love, woes of NRI living in India, and so much more. Season 1, directed by Nipun Dharmadikari and Akash Khurana and written by Gazal Dhaliwal, Sunayana Kumari, Vaibhav Ekde, Neha Hooda, and Aarsh Vora, brings you what the so-called youngsters in their late teens go through as their school phase comes to an end marking the beginning of college life. But too many cooks have spoiled the broth.
Set in present-day Jaipur, Dimple Ahuja is a studious yet ambitious girl by nature and has time only for her studies and gaming. She intends to pursue coding as a career. To push her career in this field, she gets admitted into Aravalli Institute of Technology, Jaipur, to study Application Development Program for a short term of three months. She is beyond excited to move away from her hometown of Ambala, away from her overbearing mother, and finally follow her passion.
On the other hand, Rishi Singh Shekhawat, a sweet 18-year-old Jaipur-based boy, is looking to meet women through the traditional setup of arranged marriage and comes across Dimple’s profile, which he finds endearing. Through her mother, he comes to know about Dimple’s admission to a Jaipur-based tech college and decides to meet up with her. The first meeting turns out to be a disaster for Dimple, who ends up throwing a glass of cold coffee at him. Dimple makes it clear that she isn’t interested in pursuing him or any relationship at this point, for she wants to concentrate on her goals, which are anything but marriage. Rishi is a hopeless romantic. On the other hand, Dimple is a skeptic because all her life, she has been put down by her mother for having dusky skin and having no interest in fashion and makeup. Eventually, Rishi and Dimple start dating because they find common ground; they like one another and enjoy spending time with each other.
“Mismatched” has many more colorful and not-so-likable characters that make the show likable, if not very interesting. People from all spectrums join the course to understand the nuts and bolts of how a good application can be built. There are spoiled kids from uber-rich families. Anmol is a boy from a family of means who is physically paraplegic but leaves no stone unturned when it comes to insulting/bullying people. His gang includes Simran, a social media influencer who has boundary issues with her boyfriend, Krish. Krish is another rich kid who joins the course, and just like Anmol, he is a bully. The course is also joined by an older lady, Zeenat, a widow who is trying to find her feet in this world and gain independence. Meanwhile, Harsh Agarwal, an NRI from Santa Clara, California, is also finding it difficult to fit into these surroundings. He tries his level best to be the best version of himself. But just like any other American-born confused desi, he is uncomfortable in the environment he has been pushed into.
“Mismatched,” essentially, is a miniseries that, in broad terms, talks about many issues youngsters go through as they go through transitions from school to college to find a foothold in a world that is already driven by competition. There is Namrata, a closeted lesbian. Celina Mathews, who works part-time as a food delivery person, is trying to make some extra cash. “Mismatched” touches upon issues that people with disabilities face and the hurdles they come across in every public place in the country. No college or public place, like a restaurant, has a dedicated ramp for disabled people, which makes it difficult to navigate like a normal person. The whole point of making all these facilities is to make a person dependent on a wheelchair feel normal around his/her usual surroundings. The writers should have explored this side of the story more to understand why Anmol behaves the way he does.
“Mismatched” brushes upon sexual orientation, as this is the time when kids in their late teens go through major hormonal changes and realize who do they find attractive. People who like people of their gender find it difficult to communicate that to their friends and family, especially in a society like India. Namrata, Rishi’s best friend, comes out as gay to him but finds it difficult to convey her liking to her classmate. Rishi, being himself, is supportive of her and stands up for her when her sexuality is revealed without her consent. The writers here do the right thing by sensitively handling the issue of sexual orientation. The portrayal of Namrata comes across as anyone out there struggling with being themselves and must go through various tribulations while dealing with friends and family.
Even though the heart of “Mismatched” lies in the right place, the show makers and writers could not stay away from cliched plot points and go beyond a standard screenplay, which gives us nothing new. In a time when we are surrounded by many internationally acclaimed television shows like “Sex Education,” “Mismatched” does not offer anything new. “Sex Education,” just like “Mismatched,” is a Netflix Original and deals with a similar subject matter but with so much more depth and layers, which is missing in “Mismatched.”
This miniseries surely does not forget to touch upon bullying and ragging, which is a common scene in an Indian college setup. Dealing with them in a dignified manner is what “Mismatched” showcases. The kids and their relationship with lecturer Siddharth Sinha are portrayed in a one-dimensional fashion. There is no friction or conflict, which is also the most common sight in a college. Thankfully, the show keeps the entire tone simple and easy to follow. Themes like addiction, consent, the rich and poor divide, friendships, rivalry, and social media addiction are the highlights of the show. But there was a hope these topics would be stressed with better storylines. The show also throws light on feminism, gaming, and how gaming is now an arena where women can shine and can progress without blurting out slurs constantly.
“Mismatched” season 1 ends with a major gaming match between Dimple and Anmol, both avid gamers, where they challenge each other. Amidst all this, Namratha’s sexual orientation is revealed. Rishi lashes out at Dimple for revealing her secret. Meanwhile, Dimple is horrified to know her app has been leaked. Rishi’s lack of concern towards the app getting leaked leads to Rishi and Dimple breaking up, and in a fit of emotion, Dimple kisses Harsh Agarwal, her teammate and classmate.
What To Expect From ‘Mismatched’ Season 2?
Season 2 of “Mismatched” will be the continuation of the events that transpired on the night of the gaming competition. Rishi’s relationship with Dimple going forward and Dimple’s relationship with Harsh now that they kissed each other out of the blue, Dimple will also be on the hunt for the person who was responsible for leaking her application. Not to forget, will Dimple and Rishi eventually get back together? How will Namrata and Celina’s relationship go forward? Will we get to see the reason behind Anmol’s major anger issue? As an audience, I am hoping “Mismatched” season 2 will be a better version of season 1, just like the apps they are developing and improvising.
“Mismatched” Season 1 is streaming on Netflix with subtitles. Season 2 will be out on October 14th, 2022.