Mismatched is a series adaptation of Sandhya Menon’s 2017 young adult novel titled When Dimple Met Rishi. The romcom unfolds during a three-month app and coding course. Unlike Menon’s USA-set book, the story unfolds in Jaipur.

Eighteen-year-old Rishi (Rohit Saraf) obediently agrees to his grandmother’s desire that he should have an arranged marriage. Grandma (Suhasini Mulay) also suggests that Rishi enroll in the same course as his prospective bride. Accompanied by his friend Namrata, Rishi lands up at the same coding camp as Dimple (Prajakta Koli), whom he has picked as his “future wife”. No matter that Dimple is oblivious to this Indian mis-matchmaking. Stalker much?

An anti-social geek, Dimple is focussed on app developing and becoming a champion gamer. But Rishi’s gentlemanly ways are hard to resist. Rishi makes up for Dimple’s cold front with his warm earnestness. Rohit Saraf plays the part with such sincerity that it’s difficult to dislike his character. Prajakta Koli is efficient as Dimple, who is navigating her way through a childhood instilled insecurities, peer pressure and a budding romance.

The coding class, taught by Siddharth (Rannvijay Singh), is populated with American campus stereotypes – nerds, jocks, hot chicks, rebels, an outsider (in this case an NRI who joins the college for the WiFi connection). There’s also a mature student Zeenat (Vidya Malvade), who is learning coding off Google, which makes you wonder about the criteria for admission to this course.

While Dimple and Rishi are bonding over app development, Dimple is readying to go to battle with League of Legends champion and classmate Anmol, whose choice of a Kill Bill-inspired yellow tracksuit for the championship match is probably no coincidence.

Undoubtedly designed to appeal to millennials, Mismatched’s struggles, secrets, sassiness and backdrop have echoes of shows like Sex Education and Never Have I Ever. Writers Gazal Dhaliwal, Aarsh Vora and Sunayana Kumari pepper the script with hashtags, abbreviations and gaming culture references and touch on issues of sexuality, vanity, complexion and disability. There’s also a point about how life should not just be lived online but IRL (in real life) too.

The casting and performances of the supporting cast are spot on, in particular Muskkan Jaferi as Dimple’s roommate Celina, who delivers one of the best lines of the show. As she gives Dimple her Cinderella makeover, Celina declares, “Kaajal is like a push-up bra for your eyes.”

Devyani Shorey is immensely likable as Namrata and Vihaan Samat, Abhinav Sharma, Taaruk Raina and Kritika Bharadwaj do a fine job as Harsh, Krish, Anmol and Simran respectively.

Directors Akarsh Khurana and Nipun Dharmadhikari keep the mood easy and the pace brisk in the six-part first season, which ends with a hanging finale that suggests that Dimple and Rishi’s happily-ever-after may need more than grandma’s blessings.

Mismatched (2020).

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