Movie Review “The Archies”: Clever craft combined with cute characters

The Archies. (L to R) Vedang Raina as Reggie Mantle, Khushi Kapoor as Betty Cooper, Suhana Khan as Veronica Lodge, Agastya Nanda as Archie Andrews, Yuvraj Menda as DIlton Doiley, Mihir Ahuja as Jughead Jones, Dot as Ethel Muggs in The Archies. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Zoya Akhtar’s recent directorial release “The Archies” has been in news as it is the debut movie of famous Bollywood stars  progeny. The audience was looking forward to watching these kids perform. The movie also received mild criticism and was being called a “nepokids” movie by the viewers even before its release. Another buzz was created when Ravina Tandon, the well-known Bollywood actress liked a social media post trolling the cast of the movie. However, the actress publicly apologized later on calling that an accident.

The movie has been very cleverly thought out to make sure not to expose these actors to too much criticism. The roles assigned to each character are not challenging, so the actors seem to do justice to them. All these youngsters have a long way to go, especially performing in lead roles in movies and in carrying a movie’s plot on their shoulders. The main characters played by the 7 youngsters in the film, trying to save their favorite “Green Park” from being changed into a hotel due to a corporate takeover are cute and lovable.

The plot and scenes are nostalgic as the movie travels down the streets of the beautiful Riverdale. The directorial details are at their best all over the movie with attention to minute details ; from a wooden wheelchair to a rusty construction crane and to a bottle of Gold Spot, the famous soda of those times. There are way too many songs and not all of them are needed; the story seems to get lost in the numerous unnecessary songs.

Agastya Nanda who played Archie Andrews is an unexpected surprise when it comes to dancing. He has the finesse and flexibility needed to be a good performer. His acting skills are also very promising in comparison to other actors in the movie. Agastya’s resemblance with his maternal uncle and actor Abhishek Bachchan can not be missed and the craft running in his blood definitely promises a potential star in making.

The bond between Veronica and Betty played by Suhana Khan and Khushi Kapoor respectively, is pleasing to the heart but both need to improve their acting skills – but is promising none the less. The roles given to them doesn’t demand exceptional craft to do justice to their characters. Suhana being portrayed as a rich princess doesn’t have much room to go wrong. Khushi, on the other hand , playing a middle-class girl helping her dad at his bookstore reminds us of many similar plots of friendships in the past between the rich and the poor.

The characters of Jughead, Ethel, Reggie and Dilton played by Mihir Ahuja, Dot, Vedang Raina and Yuvraj Menda respectively are very amiable and all the young actors deserve an applause. Zoya Akhtar alongwith all the side actors in the movie definitely deserve an applause for keeping the depth of the storyline through good direction and good acting.

“The Archies” seems to have a very niche target audience especially when we talk about the commercial cinema.  Every Archies comic lover who was fascinated by the stories of Riverdale is definitely up for a treat with the very beautiful Anglo-Indian setting, well-thought-out costumes, scenic and architectural beauty and the freshness of these young faces.  It will be interesting to see how the movie is received by the viewers, especially the Hindi speaking audience.

All in all. I would recommend this movie to everyone, albeit to see budding actors on their way to stardom, with a pinch of salt of their inexperience but under wonderful direction of Zoya Akhtar. Perhaps the kudos should lie with Zoya to be able to mold the storyline with this young crew while having the audience experience the grandeur of a town of yesteryears.



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