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Stunning cinematography, a crop of fresh young actors, and a close look into the Anglo-Indian community of India – Netflix’s ‘The Archie’s’ does not disappoint.

Firstly, it is the first of many firsts – an Indian adaptation of the classic American comic book series as well as the launch of several ‘star’ kids.

Suhana Khan, Khushi Kapoor and Agastya Nanda make their big-screen debuts as Veronica, Betty and Archie, respectively. Zoya Akhtar also makes her debut as director.

What to watch this December: ‘The Archies’, ‘Wonka’, ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’

Yuvraj Menda, Mihir Ahuja, Vedang Raina and Rudra Mahuvarkar play Doiley, Jughead and Reggie and Moose, while Ethel is portrayed by Aditi Saigal.

This is balanced out by veteran actors such as Alyy Khan who plays Hiram Lodge.

Together, they bring together a wholesome, immersive, coming-of-age musical that stokes plenty nostalgia set within an idyllic, picture-perfect 1960’s hill station community.

Those who grew up reading the comics will welcome the setting, references and reminders to their childhood.

This iteration also reminds one of all the intellect and ambition that was present post-partition – literature, art, theatre – before divergent views and polarisation took over.

Fans of the comic books will enjoy the light and friendly, candy-flossed version – ‘Riverdale’, in contrast, was a slightly darker spin on the original characters.

If detractors find the acting hollow, it is because the film is an authentic representation of naïveté and innocence of the characters, as it still stands.

An ensemble cast by its very nature is hard to put together, but, in this case, works. Those faithful to the comic books will recognise that the characters don’t divest away from the original much, instead bringing their own unique touch and plenty nuance to it.

Bollywood’s take on ‘The Archies’ concludes production, announces director

Expect retro-song and dance sequences, very reminiscent of ‘Grease’, another classic coming-of-age musical. Vintage shots of Pop Tate’s - the diner, its supersized sundaes and mix of mom-and-pop stores, offer a starry-eyed, romanticised version of ‘Riverdale’.

Dilton, Jughead, Ethel and adorable Moose bring much lightness, although they would have benefited from more screen time, as the gang navigates love, friendships, heartbreak and corporate greed.

The script felt a bit weak in places with long gaps and short sentences, while a more tightly edited version may have served the film better – its current run time is over 2 hours.

Nanda does his character justice as the red-headed charismatic teenager known for his musical talent and his band, ‘The Archies’. Suhana brings plenty spunk to her role as spoilt and lovable Veronica, and flawless dance sequences.

Kapoor’s role was a tad bit vanilla on screen – jury’s out on whether that’s her acting prowess or the script. Time will tell.

The crux of the story revolves around their beloved town park, Greenpark, under threat of being demolished for a development project, owing to no other than Hiram Lodge with Alyy Khan playing the egotistic magnate to perfection serving as the villain.

The movie sends a keen message to younger viewers about activism – that their individual voices matter and that standing up for one’s beliefs and values is important.

This at a time when worldwide protests against a genocidal war – especially on social media – has run deep.

Watch for the nostalgia, the stunning visuals and of course, adorable Moose.

Also read:

Comments

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Misbah U R Dec 13, 2023 07:58pm
Burning inflation, rising unemployment, political crisis, economy in mess and you think we will be happy to read review of Indian content?
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Spaceman Dec 13, 2023 11:31pm
@Misbah UR- Does it stop people from watching the films despite "Burning inflation, rising unemployment, political crisis, economy in mess" ? No. Then why not spend a few minutes reading the review to help decide whether you want to spend two hours watching the content ?
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