“Mismatched” is a series that begins so promisingly but begins to slide from the fourth (of six) episodes alarmingly. Clearly, the idea is to stretch it to Season 2, and not having read the Sandhya Menon story, “When Dimple Met Rishi,” I would say that the story should have been completed in 10 to 12 episodes. I do not see any interest remaining after the way it has been handled if the next season returns a year or more later.
Yes, a section of the youth may relate to the entire season, but methinks that may not happen—the majority of audiences, irrespective of demographics, tend to think identically overall. Director Akarsh Khurana has not yet connected with his audience(s) even in his films, though for me, his “Karwaan” worked big. Basically, this story is about Rishi (Rohit Saraf), who joins a course ONLY because a girl to whom his marriage proposal was sent by his grandmother (Suhasini Mulay) is also going to study there—the ambitious but not conventionally comely Dimple (Prajakta Koli).
Their first meeting is anything but pleasant, but soon misunderstandings are cleared and they settle down into an easy friendship that moves to romantic overtones. Rishi has a childhood platonic BFF in Namrata (Devyani Shorey), who has joined him there, and when Dimple feels that they are a twosome, he has to let on that Namrata “likes” girls, taking a promise from her that she will never ever tell anyone. However, circumstances compel Dimple to spill the beans, and there is trouble ahead.
The basic issue with the series is the needlessly intense craving for “contemporary” identification on the part of the writers and director. Someone in the series should be gay, there should be a load of expletives and sex in words if not on display, a broken marriage, domineering parents, complexes about body-shaming, a Muslim woman (Vidya Malavade), who confesses she felt nothing other than free and relieved when her husband died young, a “with-it” teacher (Rannvijay Singh) who parties with the kids, a weirdo (Muskaan Jafferi) with a secret that is certainly not shameful but is made out to be so, an absurd premise of needlessly vicious students and a lot of technical gobbledygook about making Apps.
Thankfully, all this is interspersed with some truly humorous, engrossing and youthful moments, and visually, thanks to the locations and the cinematography (Avinash Arun and Milind Jog), the series is great fun in the first three episodes. Khurana is good at extracting performances, and the actors who especially shine are Devyani Shorey as Namrata (her final scene is outstanding), Vihaan Samat as the American Indian, Muskaan Jafferi as Celina the weirdo, Rannvijay Singh as the teacher and Rohit Saraf as Rishi. Kshitee Jog and Jatin Sial as Dimple’s parents are total naturals, as is Suhasini Mulay as Rishi’s grandmother.
But the scene-stealer is Prajakta Koli as Dimple. Amazing and lovable, she steals the show on screen from everyone, her huge and expressive eyes being one of the main keys to a lovely performance.
A major downer—again as in most Akarsh Khurana projects—is the music. A coterie of contemporary musicians, devoid of a sense of good language and composition, and above all, terrible accent make all the songs pathetic to hear. A section of the “Yo” generation again may like what passes off as songs, which all sound alien in every sense.
Overall, an average fare.
Rating: *** (Just About, and mainly for Koli and some great moments in the first three episodes)
Produced by: Ronnie Screwvala
Directed by: Akarsh Khurana & Niupun Dharmadhikari
Written by: Sandhya Menon, Gazal Dhaliwal, Sunayana Kumari, Namrata Rao &
Music: Prateek Kuhad, Slowcheeta, Anurag Saikia, Imaad Shah, Dee MC, Jasleen Royal, Nikhita Gandhi & Taaruk Raina
Starring: Prajakta Koli, Rohit Saraf, Vihaan Samat, Taaruk Raina, Vidya Malavade, Kritika Bharadwaj, Rannvijay Singh, Muskkaan Jaferi, Devyani Shorey, Suhasini Mulay, Abhinav Sharma, Ravin Makhija, Taaruk Raina, Imran Rasheed,
Ruturaj Shinde, Sarthak Kakar, Paras Gola, Chirag Pardesi, Kshitee Jog, Jatin Sial,
Aditi Gowitriker, Trishna Singh & others