Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Film Review: THE ARCHIES


Image Courtesy: https://www.koimoi.com/

Cast: Agastya Nanda (Archie Andrews), Vedang Raina (Reggie Mantle), Suhana Khan (Veronica Lodge), Khushi Kapoor (Betty Cooper), Mihir Ahuja (Jughead Jones), Aditi Dot (Ethel), Yuvraj Menda (Dilton Doiley), Alyy Khan (Mr. Lodge)

The Story:

The story is set in 1964 and is based on the world-famous characters from Archie Comics which were published as an extremely popular series from the year 1942 to 2015, with more than 650 issues.

In this Bollywood film by Zoya Akhtar, Archie and his gang of friends live in Riverdale, which is set in India (instead of the US of A). This town is populated by Anglo Indians who have chosen to remain back in India after the country’s independence from British Raj. The movie revolves around Green Park, a large green sector with lush gardens and age-old trees which is in the centre of the town. 

They are all seventeen years old and finishing school, each one thinking about his/her future. Archie, who plans to go to London for higher studies, is a confused teen who isn’t sure who he loves more—Betty or Ronnie. 

Reggie is keen to join the local newspaper where his father is the chief editor. Jughead, who is fond of food more than anything else, works at Pop Tate’s, a food joint. Ethel who crushes on Jughead, who in turn refuses to be aware of her, works at a beauty salon as a hairstylist.

Veronica (Ronnie) has just now returned from spending two years in London and is excited to be back with her friends. Dilton is a super-intelligent nerd who has invented his own version of the radio. 

Mr. Lodge (Ronnie’s millionaire father) is keen to build a hotel in the centre of Riverdale, which will involve destroying most of the green cover. 

The rest is all about how the teenagers manage to save the day.

My Perception:

Let me be upfront here: It took me a while to get my teeth into the film. To begin with, we are living in the space age, while The Archies is set in a 1964 small town. The pace is gentle while song and dance break out in every other scene.

The only musical I have watched is “Sound of Music” which was probably five decades ago. So, yes, I took some time to acclimatise myself to the pace of the film. But once I got into it (around the halfway mark), I fell in love with The Archies, the characters, the actors, the song and dance, just about everything. 

It was so refreshing and innocent. And was it a joy to watch a movie where I did not see one drop of blood!!!!!!! Which needed to be mentioned here as every single movie which has been released recently is full of blood and gore; rifles and swords. Ugh! 

I watched The Archies twice and only fell more in love with it the second time. Agastya Nanda as the confused 17-year-old Archie, was exceptional; as was Vedang Raina as Reggie. And by the way, Vedang sings too. 

Khushi, Sridevi’s daughter, appears as if the veteran actress has come to life. And as Betty, her acting was as good as her mother’s. As for Suhana, SRK’s daughter, she is not only gorgeous, and charming like her famous father, but has acted so well too. 

Mihir Ahuja as Jughead Jones, Aditi Dot (another wonderful singer) as Ethel, Yuvraj Menda as Dilton Doiley, were equally brilliant. The casting was bang on, especially Alyy Khan as Mr. Lodge (minus the specs).

Kudos to Zoya Akhtar for this beautiful and heart-touching movie which brought back a load of childhood memories to life!

VERDICT: A must watch if you like sweet movies with a lot of song and dance; especially one without gore and blood—which I sincerely believe is the need of the hour.