‘The Archies’: Cast & Crew
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Cast: Agastya Nanda, Khushi Kapoor, Suhana Khan, Vedang Raina, Mihir Ahuja, Aditi "Dot" Saigal, Yuvraj Menda, Koel Purie, Santana Roach, Rudra Mahuvarkar, Tara Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Luke Kenny, Alyy Khan, Kamal Sidhu, Satyajit Sharma, Delnaaz Irani, James Alter, Pooja Sarup, Ashish Sawhny, Sahil Jaffery, Avan Contractor, Dierdree Wright, Diya Gupta, Nikhil Kapoor, Ashok Banthia
Available On: Netflix
Duration: 2 Hours 21 Minutes
‘The Archies’: Story
Set in 1960s India, Archie and the gang navigate romance, friendship and the future of Riverdale as developers threaten to destroy a beloved park. Will the gang be able to save the park? Will there be heartbreaks caused because of this tension? Will the friends ever remain friends after this feud over the park? Will the kids fall prey to their parent’s mistakes? Will the kids ever feel love for each other, ever? Well, for all that you’ll have to watch ‘The Archies’.
‘The Archies’: Performances
Agastya Nanda is the pick of the performers. The entire story revolves around him. Being a newbie, he gives a very measured performance. He tries to be that cool and suave philanderer but ends up coming out as the cutesy first crush that everyone wishes to have.
While it’s wrong to compare two actors, as they’re sisters, it’s somewhat allowed. Khushi Kapoor gives a much better debut performance than what Janhvi Kapoor did. Khushi Kapoor holds her own and gives the character a much-needed depth that it deserves. Her dialogue delivery reminds you time and again of Sridevi.
Suhana Khan may have been the weakest of the three leads, but she can’t be blamed for it. The character itself was a very pompous one, which sort of didn’t suit Suhana’s down-to-earth real-life persona. She did try to make the character stand out by giving it the outlandish Bollywood wife vibe, but it ended up coming a lot forced.
The rest of the supporting cast was actually the highlight of the film. From the geeky guy to the guy with the shiny hairdo, everyone was spot on. While they weren’t given the lead roles, but they did grab your eyeballs and stood out in the gamut of newbies.
Vinay Pathak looks out of place. His character tried a different accent, which didn’t suit him at all, and came out quite caricaturish.
Alyy Khan had a standout performance. His persona speaks volumes and makes the character even more sinister than it actually is. It makes you wonder why we see him so less in Hindi films.
‘The Archies’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Zoya Akhtar fails. She tries to give the audience something new in the form of a Western musical, but somehow people aren’t still open to such a genre shift. Bringing in that many number of songs in her directorial takes you away from the story quite often in the first half. You start losing interest in the plot and it ends up feeling like just a boy meets girl kind of story rather than having a deeper connotation, which comes out in the second half.
The writing by Ayesha Devitre Dhillon, Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar is able to create an entirely new world for you. Within the first few minutes of the film, you’re sold on the concept of this idea of a make-believe place. However, where the writing lacks is to carry on this belief of the audience in its storyline and dialogues. While it’s set in the 1960s some of the plot points seem to be a bit too modern for that era. While that can be overlooked, what’s even surprising is that the entire storyline feels very superficial and tries to cater to the feel-good Christmasy feel of good winning over bad. Sadly, the core point of the story could have been a bit more poignant which when told through the eyes of these young kids would have left an indelible impact.
Farhan Akhtar’s dialogues were decent. However, each character could have been given a bit of a punchline considering the era in which the film is set, which was famous for punchline-laden dialogues.
Nikos Andritsakis’ cinematography is pretty much the best thing about ‘The Archies’. The way the sets have been designed and erected and the way the scenes have been shot in real locations, it doesn’t give a feel that you’re shooting 1960s in the 2020s. The camerawork is so smooth that barely are there any goof ups and you’re given a very smooth seamless effect. Also, the varied ways in which the characters have been shot with each getting quite a few direct-to-camera shots makes the viewing pleasure even better. Also, the landscape that has been shown is gorgeous and Nikos Andritsakis gives you that exotic feel brilliantly.
Nitin Baid’s editing too could have been a bit crisper. Some of the scenes in the middle just felt a bit too dragged out making you feel like they could have been chopped a bit.
Even though the concept of a musical hasn’t yet been sold to Indian audiences that much, but the music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, The Islanders, Aditi “Dot” Saigal, and Ankur Tewari is brilliant. While the songs tend to come out of nowhere and you’re caught off-guard thinking why it’s there in the film, but when you listen to the songs just on the jukebox, some of the songs actually are really catchy and stick on with you. Songs like ‘Yeh Saari Aawazein’, ‘Jab Tum Na Theen’, and ‘In Raahon Mein’ will definitely find a place on your playlists.
‘The Archies’: Can Kids Watch It?
‘The Archies’ is definitely not a cup of tea for everyone. It’s not a one size fits all. If you’re not into the Western musical structure of films, this will bore the heck out of you. The young actors are promising. The direction does lack the punch that Zoya Akhtar usually has. But overall, for the ones who’re familiar with the ‘High School Musical’ sort of movies, this is still an Average Watch. I am going with 2.5 stars.