Netflix’s Mismatched Season 2 is better and wiser than the first. Created by Akarsh Khurana, it has definitely grown up, as have its characters. But the Dimple-Rishi love story does not shine anymore, now there are compelling character developments in the hit show.
The eight-episode season is a Vihaan Samat show. The actor, who shone in Netflix’s Eternally Confused and Eager for Love (2021), comes into his own as ‘NRI’ Harsh Agarwal. From being a solid support system to Dimple (played by Prajakta Koli) when she gets panic attacks to understanding the need to take things slow, he fares better than Rishi (played by Rohit Saraf).
Samat has grown tremendously as an actor and in terms of how his character is written. It is a treat to watch him become the kind of boyfriend you wish Dimple actually ends up with. Vidya Malvade, who plays Zeenat, also deserves a special mention for her role as the elder millennial trying to fit into a GenZ world. The actor is a dependable character in the wild medley of emotions that courses through the episodes.
The season of ‘moving-on’
The new season of Mismatched expands the scope of dating and relationships to show layers of the idea of love, heartbreak and moving on. The show starts from where it ended in Season 1 with the leaking of Dimple’s app AntiSosh, her beating Anmol (Taaruk Raina) at an online game, Celina (Muskkaan Jaferi) outing Namrata (Devyani Shorey), and the Rishi-Dimple fall out. The season ended with a cliffhanger–Dimple kissing Harsh spontaneously, who comes to comfort her post her fallout.
It’s all messy, confusing and filled with half-baked promises of romance, just like college in real life. It’s a comforting watch for young Indians.
Rather than going down the tired route of lost soulmates pining for each other and not living their lives, the season explores the idea of moving on, of finding new love, potential partners, while dealing with the past. However, because the original premise of an 18-year-old wanting to marry is a shaky one, and the love story itself doesn’t feel compelling enough.
The Dimple-Harsh or Rishi-Sunny (Sanjana Sarathy) chemistry appears to have more fireworks and substance. The tech course in Jaipur premise is still jarring, and the ‘you are geeks’ vibe does not quite feel realistic enough.
Exploring mental health
One element that the show decides to explore is mental health, be it of Anmol who struggles with his disability and anger issues, or that of Celina who does not quite understand how to deal with her sexuality, or Simran (Kritika Bharadwaj) who struggles with body image issues, the pangs and frustrations have depth.
Prajakta Koli’s character Dimple who gets panic attacks due to the pressure created by her own overachieving self and trying to understand how to deal with it, is probably overshadowed by Vihaan. He proves to be competent as someone who helps but does not try to ‘fix’ her problem. It highlights how mental health issues take a village, not just to get better but also to be addressed in the first place.
Celina’s confusion at being attracted to Namrata and coping through hookups with Ashish does not feel poignant enough, but is salvaged by an earnest performance by Muskkaan Jaferi.
Simran’s addiction to her Instagram exemplifies the extent to which social media influences the lives of GenZ. The assigned role of a ‘sex goddess’ and feeling pressured to be thinner and more desirable to her boyfriend Krish Katyal (Abhinav Sharma) highlight the inherent body image issues that social media generates.
Writers Gazal Dhaliwal, Aarsh Vora, Nandini Gupta, and Sunayana have put in extra effort, and it shows in the season. It is a difficult task to be breezy and also deal with issues that plague Gen Z. Mismatched manages to hold the fort, and here’s hoping the third instalment, if there’s one, grows further.