Misfitthe popular Netflix series, is a young adult rom-com loosely based on the plot of the Sandhya Menon book, When Dimple Met Richie (Simon Balls, 2017). While the series is reminiscent of a script that traces the lives of nearly identical characters, it does offer a fair share of improvisations, and the result is that a YA fan’s dream come true as the series dramatically outperforms the book.
Truth be told, I read the book after spotting the trailer for the show in 2020, but as per the bookworm’s general rule, I didn’t start watching the show until I finished the book.
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I found that although the book is a short read, it doesn’t compromise on the lavish Bollywood-style drama that readers would normally expect with Indian heroes in a foreign background. The book follows two teens at a tech summer camp – Rishi (played by Rohit Sarav in the series), who is on a quest to find the perfect partner, and Dimple (Prajkta Kohli in the series), who is focused solely on her career. What unfolds is a story of self-discovery and first love, the warmth of which extends through the pages of the novel.
I think what made this regular story so interesting for me was the character development. I think characters are the heart of any work of fiction, and two such characters exist in my mind without rent. Back when I first read it, August, by John Green We have bad luck (Dutton Books, 2012), She made me fall in love. And now, Rishi from MisfitIt made me believe in love. Whether it’s his innocence in the book or his charm in the series, the character alone makes the story better; He says he’s just a silly boy in love, but it turns out he’s so much more than that.
With the introduction of new characters, the series scores better in acting than the book. Whether it’s portrayal of LGBTQ+, physical disabilities, eating disorders or other mental health issues, the show presents the toughest forms of human emotion. While introducing all of these characters to the show made the plot more chaotic and difficult to connect, the cast was the perfect choice that personified the characters from the book very well.
Such changes from the book caught my attention, particularly the character of Nimrata, Rishi’s best friend, who is tired of being in the closet for years. What they share is the purest form of friendship, which made me think that love isn’t the only significant relationship out there. Likewise, Harsh is another character who wins hearts as her character undergoes major transformations across seasons and becomes the epitome of unrequited love. I appreciate that all the characters have their own problems and subplots, subtly hiding behind the perception of the “ideal life”.
In the book we don’t see much detail about these youth struggles. However, on the show, when Dimple collapses into a panic attack, and has trouble breathing, I think many of us can relate to it. When Harsh quietly sings her favorite song, we think of all the friends who have had a hard time. When we see Simran starving, we think of all the times we skipped our favorite meal just to fit in with the idea of a perfect body image. Finally, when we see Selena hiding her secret, we realize how often we disavow our identities, trying to fit in. None of these tales were part of the youthful romance I read a couple of years ago, and after finishing the show, I realized how important it was to bring up these representations.
Even with the improvisation, the show feels like the book comes alive. Small scenes captured straight from the pages were very close to home. Whether it’s the creative “hello future wife”, a cup of cold coffee splashing on her face, or the idea of ”other than dates”, Misfit It’s what a good book edit should look like. Besides the great cinematography around Jaipur, the show is a joy to watch.
Maisha Islam Al-Manami IBA and DU student and freelance journalist who loves to read, write and blog. Follow @monnameereads on Instagram.