Archies: A Hollow Teenage Drama Led By Three Disappointing Star Kids

Zoya Akhtar’s launch pad for Suhana Khan, Khushi Kapoor, and Agastya Nanda is a major misfire. The musical format only adds to the woes.

Zoya Akhtar’s weakest work to date!

Archies (Hindi)

  • Cast: Suhana Khan, Khushi Kapoor, Agastya Nanda, Vedang Raina, Yuvraj Menda, and Aditi “Dot” Saigal
  • Director: Zoya Akhtar
  • Producer: Tiger Baby Productions
  • Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
  • Runtime: 2 hours 21 minutes
  • OTT Platform: Netflix

Archies is one of those movies that has created a significant buzz from its inception.

There are many reasons for this. One is the popularity of its source material Archie Comics. The characters in Archie Comics have appeared in numerous films and television programs among others.

Secondly, this movie is also a launch pad for three-star kids hailing from illustrious families. Agastya Nanda is the grandson of Bollywood Shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan, Khushi Kapoor is the younger daughter of the late Sridevi, and lastly, Suhana Khan is the daughter of Bollywood’s Badshah Shah Rukh Khan.

There is a general fascination that viewers have with star kids as much as we may hate nepotism.

Zoya Akhtar has created her own identity as a storyteller — be it is movies or the digital platform. This also has contributed to Archies being much anticipated.

Archies falls flat

However, this time, Zoya Akhtar falls flat in her attempt at combining a coming-of-age drama with social issues like development versus environmental good.

Archies directed by Zoya Akhtar
‘Archies’ directed by Zoya Akhtar. (X)

Among the cast, it is the non-star kids who fare much better, particularly Vedang Raina.

Karan Johar did a far superior job with his young cast in Student of The Year (2013).

For those who are not familiar with the Archie comics, the story is set in a picturesque hill station called Riverdale.

Riverdale is home to many Anglo-Indians who chose to stay in India after independence. The viewers are first introduced to the constantly flirting Andrews aka Archie (Agastya Nanda). Andrews has a small band which he proclaims will soon become the best in the world after the Beatles.

After this, we are introduced to the other important characters. Some of these are Betty (Khushi Kapoor) and Veronica (Suhana Khan). Veronica is a rich kid who constantly keeps pouting and generally comes across as annoying.

In simple terms, the story of Archies is about how Andrews and his seven friends navigate friendship, romance, and social responsibility.

Riverdale has a Green Park which holds a significant place in the local community.

Just like any other masala film you have Veronica’s businessman father who is hell-bent on destroying the park and wants to build a posh hostel in that place.


Before getting into the dissection of the movie, it is necessary to get done with the performances of the new cast.

Suhana Khan in Archies
Suhana Khan in ‘Archies’. (NetflixIndia/ X)

As mentioned above Suhana Khan was disappointing in her debut performance.

In places, Suhana tries to channel her father, particularly in the portions where Veronica has to show arrogance. But it comes across as too off-putting and doesn’t endear her to the audience in any way.

Alia Bhatt also played a rich girl (Shanaya Singhania) in Student of The Year but that was written far better despite the less screen time.

In Student of The Year, too, there were occasions where Shanaya came across as arrogant but director Karan Johar and Alia were successful in humanising her as well.

Unfortunately, nothing of that sort happens here. Suhana Khan overplays the snootiness and falters badly in the few emotional bits.

Khushi Kapoor is also very bland in her debut. In fact, Janhvi Kapoor was much better in her first film Dhadak (2018) despite the raw edges.

Agastya Nanda is suitably charming in the beginning but soon enough, his performance also becomes wooden.

It is the non-star kids who save the film from completely sinking. A particular mention must be made of Vedang Raina. He brings in the right amount of swag as the Rakish Reggie.

A special mention must be made of the scene between him and Dilton (Yuvraj Menda). It has the right mix of tenderness and vulnerability.


Agatsya Nanda in Archies
Agatsya Nanda in ‘Archies’. (X)

Coming to the flaws, a big problem with Archies is the overdose of songs. Agree that the film is a musical but still, Zoya Akhtar overdoes the songs.

All the characters express their feelings through songs. This becomes too much after a point.

A good example of this is the scene where Andrew realises that politics is personal and that some causes are worth fighting for. This huge transformation happens through an incoherently staged “Everything is Political” song.

There is no denying that Archies looks visually colourful, thanks to Nikos Anaritsaksi’s cinematography and Suzanne Caplan Merwanji’s production design. However, soon enough, a sense of artificiality creeps in. This is because of the hollowness beneath the gloss.

The character of Suhana’s father (Ally Khan) is another big joke. The character has been poorly written and the way he praises his daughter after the Green Park has been saved comes across as a big joke.

The scenes between Varun Dhawan and his rich father in Student of The Year (Ram Kapoor) had much more of an impact despite the clichés.

Both Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) and Dil Dhadakne Do (2015), despite being about rich people, had genuine emotions and characters that viewers invested in.

However, the characters in Archies are cardboard cuts and the weak performances, particularly from Suhana, Khushi, and Agastya don’t help the cause either.

Final take

Archies is Zoya Akhtar’s weakest work to date. The acclaimed director has put more focus on how to present the star kids rather than making an impactful film.

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