Zoya Akhtar’s Netflix exclusive directorial The Archies got released on 7 December starring Agastya Nanda as Archie, Khushi Kapoor as Betty, Suhana Khan as Veronica, Yuvraj Menda as Jughead Jones, Vedang Raina as Reggie and Mihir Ahuja as Dilton.
Boosting musical background the movie is inspired by Archie Comics and was first premiered at the 54th International Film Festival of India on 22nd November before it got released for public. In this 1960s British-India setting story, Archie and the group negotiate friendship, romance, and Riverdale's future when developers threaten to demolish an adored park.
Plot of the film
The Archies, a musical emblematic of the coming-of-age genre, immerses its audience into the fictitious elevated enclave of Riverdale, delving into the intertwined lives of its protagonists—Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie, Ethel, and Dilton. This evocative production contemplates the profound themes of camaraderie, liberation, romance, heartache, and defiance, all scrutinised through the unique lens of the discernible Anglo-Indian community.
At the heart of the film lies a narrative centering on the dynamics among seven children, a relationship that undergoes a formidable trial with the emergence of a pivotal local redevelopment initiative. Spearheaded by Veronica's father, the ambitious renovation project seeks to transform a cherished park into a hotel. In the face of this impending transformation, the group, momentarily setting aside their internal discord, unites in a collaborative effort to thwart the impending destruction of this beloved public space.
More about the movie
In spite of the confining confines of the comic book format, the narrative and screenplay crafted by Ayesha Devitre Dhillon, Reema Kagti, and Akhtar transcend the inherent limitations, providing dedicated space for the exploration of profound real-world issues. These encompass the vital domains of the delicate balance between development and environmental well-being, the obligations of social responsibility, reflections on post-independence patriotism, the essence of traditional rebellion, and the portrayal of youthful rectitude prevailing in moments of adult indecision.
Yet, within the realm of Archie's universe, no conflict looms insurmountable, and no threat assumes an overly tangible reality. Anticipations are established that the denouement will unfold in a milieu saturated with positivity. Consider, for instance, Archie's epiphany wherein he discerns the deeply personal nature of politics and the profound causes that merit impassioned advocacy. The transformation of this teenage musician, initially harbouring aspirations of relocating to London, into the linchpin of the 'Save the Green' movement is triggered by a resonant anthem entitled 'Everything Is Politics,' collaboratively composed by his 17-year-old peers.
This endeavour marks Akhtar's most extensive effort to immerse the audience in the narrative, yet paradoxically, it also represents her most cautious approach. While the film carries the distinctive Zoya Akhtar touch in its sensibilities, this artistic imprint becomes somewhat overshadowed within the already well-defined universe of Archies Comics. Furthermore, the film leaves viewers pondering the overarching purpose it seeks to convey.
The star-kids deliver adequately, though not exceptionally. Their portrayals lack a distinctive brilliance, and their characters, in turn, appear rather one-dimensional, lacking emotional depth. However, it is notable that Suhana Khan convincingly embodies the role of the affluent diva, Veronica, while Khushi Kapoor aptly portrays the amiable and kind Betty Cooper. Agastya Nanda’s screen presence was subtly appealing in the role of the carefree Archie, entangled in a romantic dilemma involving both Veronica and Betty.