The Archies Movie Review: In the backdrop of 1964, within the fictional hilltown of Riverdale in North India, the narrative unfolds around ‘Green Park,’ introduced by Archie Andrews (portrayed by Agastya Nanda), who shares its historical significance.
Alongside his fondness for Green Park, Archie finds himself drawn to both the Brunette Veronica Lodge (played by Suhana Khan) and Blonde Betty Cooper (depicted by Khushi Kapoor).
The complexities of this love triangle intensify as Veronica’s father, Mr. Lodge (played by Alyy Khan), a capitalist, plans to ‘redevelop’ Green Park by replacing it with an extravagant five-star hotel. This sparks outrage among the six seventeen-year-olds, prompting them to devise a plan to ‘save the green.’
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The Archies Movie Review: Suhana Khan & Khushi Kapoor Shine Together
Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, and Ayesha DeVitre, the all-female writing trio behind films like “Gehraiyaan” and “Kapoor & Sons,” adopt a ‘style over substance’ approach in this narrative.
The film heavily relies on its charming aesthetics, prioritizing visual appeal over a captivating storyline. While Nikos Andritsakis’ cinematography beautifully captures the retro vibrancy of Riverdale, akin to a blend of Shimla and Santorini, the film struggles to maintain engagement due to its predictably jarring and somewhat formulaic narrative, leaving viewers wanting more substance despite the captivating visuals.
The film’s attempt to serve as a ‘launchpad’ for star-kids feels lackluster, notably in the song ‘Sunoh,’ which cryptically references ‘Suhani’ and ‘Khushi’ in its lyrics: “Kyun zindagi lagti hai humko Suhaani… sunoh… Kyun hai Khushi paane mein humko aasaani… sunoh,” leaving an obscure reference that may not be readily apparent to many. This inclusion raises questions about its purpose.
While the characters are portrayed as Anglo-Indians, hence the adopted ‘accent,’ the flaw surfaces when they seamlessly sing songs containing words like ‘Rawani, Zindagani, Zubaani.’ This linguistic discrepancy creates a significant disconnect within the film’s portrayal and character authenticity.
The Archies Movie Review: Star Performances
In many of Katrina Kaif’s films, her character was often portrayed as an NRI, justifying her accent. Similarly, in this context, the Anglo-Indian kids, played by Suhana Khan and Khushi Kapoor, speak akin to South Bombay girls, presenting a stark contrast.
Both young actors would benefit from substantial refinement before their significant screen debut. The noticeable flaws in their performances, reflecting a laidback demeanor, come across as somewhat lackadaisical, giving an impression of being borderline lazy in their portrayal.
Agastya Nanda’s debut performance echoes a lackluster attempt at acting, reminiscent of Suhana and Khushi’s portrayals. His delivery feels as though he’s simply reciting lines, devoid of adding genuine emotions to the dialogue.
The characters portrayed by Vedang Raina as Reggie and Yuvraj Menda as Dilton contribute to a standout sequence in the film, showcasing exceptional performances that elevate the scene. Dot’s portrayal of Ethel is visually appealing yet ultimately fades from memory.
The Archies Movie Review: Music & Direction
Zoya Akhtar’s artistic vision seems compromised as she ventures into crafting a captivating launch platform for star-kids.
This departure feels contrary to the Zoya Akhtar fans are accustomed to and hope for. While snippets of her signature style emerge, such as the line “To make art, you’ve to go in, not out,” her direction misses the mark, adding to a less-than-stellar track record following the disappointment of Made In Heaven 2.
The soundtrack of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Why School Musical?’ boasts sixteen songs, with ‘Sunoh’ ironically standing out as the sole track worth revisiting. However, the rest of the lyrical pieces feel like unnecessary fillers, failing to effectively substitute traditional dialogues.
The Archies Movie Review: Final Word
In summary, Zoya Akhtar’s latest work not only marks her most uncertain endeavor but also grapples with an identity crisis.
It navigates between being a slice-of-life drama infused with social issues, focusing on a group of 60s Gen-Zs who are excessively self-aware within a musical framework.
Referencing Godard’s quote, “Cinema is truth 24 times per second,” these teenagers, despite their aesthetics, lack substance beyond their appearance.
The Archies is set to release on December 7th, 2023. Kindly do share your experience of watching The Archies.
The Archies Trailer
The Archies” is set to release on December 7, 2023.
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