The Archies, the coming-of-age musical from Zoya Akhtar, just got a release date. The film is slated to drop December 7 on Netflix, drawing inspiration from the globally-loved Archie Comics characters and putting an Anglo-Indian spin on it. As part of the reveal, the cast got together at Mumbai’s Western Express Highway to pose next to a billboard with a timer that counts down the days to its premiere. Filming on The Archies wrapped up in December last year, with Akhtar credited as the co-writer alongside Ayesha Devitre (Gehraiyaan) and Reema Kagti (Made in Heaven).
Akhtar reimagines the fictional town of Riverdale through an Anglo-Indian lens, setting it at a hill station in the swinging 1960s, as the film follows the lives of Archie and friends navigating friendship, heartbreak, rebellion, school protests, dance parties, and more. A teaser from the Netflix Tudum event showed instances of rock ‘n’ roll, which didn’t sit well with the local audience who found the adaptation to be heavily influenced by Western media. Even the cast and costume design were initially criticised for not seeming accurate to India in 1964. The director addressed those sentiments by simply noting that ‘it’s fictional’ and stressing that it’s focused on the Anglo-Indian community. The Archies movie marks the fourth live-action universe project stripped from the comics, following The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Katy Keene, and the recently-ended Riverdale.
Netflix’s The Archies stars Agastya Nanda as the charming Archie Andrews, torn between his feelings for Betty and Veronica. It is worth mentioning that because of the Anglo-Indian spin, some — or maybe all — of the characters might have different names when compared to the original comic book series. Khushi Kapoor plays the kind-hearted Betty, while Suhana Khan portrays the rich and pompous Veronica Lodge. Filling out the lineup are Vedang Raina as the self-obsessed Reggie Mantle, Aditi ‘Dot’ Saigal as Riverdale’s up-and-coming hair stylist Ethel Muggs, and Mihir Ahuja as the appetite-driven Jughead Jones. Oddly enough, his signature crown-shaped cap from the comics has been replaced with a flat cap, reminiscent of Peaky Blinders.
Akhtar is co-producing The Archies movie via her own Tiger Baby Films banner, with Sharad Devarajan’s Graphics India. Earlier this month, the filmmaker dropped the second season of Made in Heaven on Amazon Prime Video, with our favourite wedding planners played by Sobhita Dhulipala and Arjun Mathur returning to orchestrate another slew of big fat Indian weddings. The new chapter is largely focused on a female perspective, with key points of conflict being abuse, mistrust, and divorce. All seven episodes of Made in Heaven season 2 are now up for streaming on the platform.
The Archies movie is out December 7 on Netflix.