Netflix, Zoya Akhtar present Hindi film The Archies

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The cast of Netflix’s The Archies includes Suhana Khan as Veronica (third from right), Khushi Kapoor as Betty (fourth from right) and Agastya Nanda (left) as Archie. Photo: Teaser Video Grab

Netflix just announced the cast of its musical drama, The Archies, directed by Zoya Akhtar and produced by Tiger Baby Films (Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar) in collaboration with Archie Comics and Graphic India. The Archies will premiere exclusively on Netflix in 2023.

Set in the 1960s, the film features and introduces Mihir Ahuja, (Aditi) Dot, Khushi Kapoor, Suhana Khan, Yuvraj Menda, Agastya Nanda and Vedang Raina in key roles. The young actors will play the beloved characters from the hugely popular Archie Comics. The announcement, featuring the cast and a catchy music track by Ankur Tiwari and the Islanders, serves as a glimpse into the world Zoya plans to create.

Tara Sharma, who made her debut in the 2002 Om Jai Jagdish as Abhishek Bachchan’s leading lady, now plays mother to Agastya Nanda, Abhishek’s sister’s son. Koel Purie who also acted in the lead in a few films around that period, will be Suhana Khan’s mother.

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The film matches the youthful energy, hope and excitement of the ‘60s and is claimed to be “A musical experience bursting with youth, rebellion, friendships, first loves and everything young adult,  and still promises to have something for every generation.” It is written by Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar and Ayesha Devitre.

Archie Andrews is essayed by Agastya Nanda, Amitabh Bachchan’s grandson. Khushi Kapoor will play Betty Cooper, the charming, quintessential girl-next-door, who is in love with Archie. Suhana Khan is Veronica, the most popular girl in high school who is best friends with Betty Cooper and is in love with Archie Andrews. Mihir Ahuja is Jughead, Vedang Raina will play Reggie Mantle, Archie’s friend and Yuvraj Menda is Dilton Doily, the nerdy teen. Aditi Dot is Midge, Moose’s longtime girlfriend, and Reggie’s unrequited crush. The other characters are not yet announced.

Archie Comics is the leading mass-market comic book publisher in the world and the home to a wide array of popular humor, action-adventure and superhero characters in entertainment, including Archie, Jughead, Betty,Veronica, Reggie, Kevin Keller, Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Besides these, they have Afterlife With Archie, the Dark Circle Comics superhero characters (The Black Hood, The Fox, The Shield, Sam Hill and more), Li’l Jinx and many more.

Archie Comics have sold over 2 billion comics worldwide and are published around the world in a number of languages. In addition to comic books, the Archie Comics characters are spotlighted weekly on The CW’s Riverdale and  Katy Keene TV series and the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and have been featured in animation,  television, film and music.

Helmed by filmmakers Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, Tiger Baby Films is a film and web studio that has acclaimed projects like Gully Boy, Made in Heaven, Lust Stories and Ghost Stories already in its kitty,

Graphic India is a leading character entertainment company focused on creating superheroes, comics and stories through mobile and digital platforms. Led by media entrepreneur Sharad Devarajan, Graphic has produced over 200 episodes of animation and developed over a dozen live action film and TV projects across Hollywood and India.

The company’s characters and animated shows include The Legend of Hanuman, which became the number one most-watched streaming show in India upon launch, Chakra The Invincible created with Stan Lee (co-creator of  Spider-Man, Iron Man and Avengers); Astra Force, an award winning animated series created with Amitabh Bachchan and Baahubali The Lost Legends, a 70-episode animated series, created with Arka Mediaworks and based on the most successful film franchise in Indian history.

The teaser of The Archies has, however, drawn flak for its “un-Indianness” for not just the makers but also Netflix, which is increasingly distancing itself from India-appeal movies and series. This is in stark contrast to other international collaborators for Hindi shows and movies, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+Hotstar.

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