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Zoya Akhtar on 'The Archies': Exciting to introduce characters to new generation

Film marks acting debut of Suhana Khan, Khushi Kapoor, Agastya Nanda
Zoya Akhtar on 'The Archies': Exciting to introduce characters to new generation
Zoya Akhtar on 'The Archies': Exciting to introduce characters to new generation

ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS For someone who grew up reading Archies Comics, director Zoya Akhtar on Monday said it is a "pleasure and honour" for her to bring the Indian adaptation of the iconic comic to life.

The filmmaker, known for movies such as Luck by Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Gully Boy, is directing Netflix's live-action musical film The Archies based on the characters of the popular American comics.

"It's such a pleasure and an absolute honour to be asked to make the Indian adaptation for this very iconic comic. It's a huge part of my childhood. I've grown up reading it.

"It's very exciting to be able to take the characters and introduce them to a new generation, and at the same time, keep that nostalgia and the essence of the comic alive for people like me that grew up on it," Akhtar said in a video message which also featured Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater.

The clip was played at Netflix's Films Day - Har Din Filmy! event, touted as the streamer's first film showcase, here.

Billed as a coming-of-age story, The Archies is set in the 1960s and follows the life of popular fictional teenagers Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and Reggie Mantle, among others.

The upcoming movie marks the acting debut of superstar Shah Rukh Khan's daughter Suhana Khan; superstar Sridevi and film producer Boney Kapoor's daughter Khushi Kapoor, and megastar Amitabh Bachchan's grandson Agastya Nanda. Mihir Ahuja, Dot, Yuvraj Menda and Vedang Raina also round out the cast of The Archies.

"We've set it in the Anglo Indian community of India, and it's in our magical fictional hill station down in our country. The town is called Riverdale, it's fictional," added the director.

Goldwater, who always wanted to do something for the Indian circuit, said he is looking forward to Akhtar's film.

"Archie has been a global icon for many years. Archie Comics is a group of iconic characters that were created in 1941. They live in the town of Riverdale. I've been enamoured to do something in India for many, many years," he said.

The senior executive said collaborating with Akhtar and Netflix was a "no-brainer". "My good friend Sharad mentioned to me that he had spoken to you (Akhtar) about doing an Archie's movie and when he mentioned that it was you who is interested, I immediately said, 'Oh my God, we have to try to make this happen.'

"And then, of course, the confluence of you and being with the best streaming company in the world and Netflix seemed like a no-brainer for the Archies." Music is a big part of the Archies heritage throughout the decades, he added. Ankur Tewari, who previously worked on Akhtar's 2019 musical drama Gully Boy, serves as music supervisor on The Archies.

"I should mention that the film is set in the 1960s. There's a loss of friendship and love and conflict and community and the music. Music is such a big part of Archies heritage throughout the decades.

"The '60s for Archie, were also such an important part as we transitioned from what Archie was to where Archie kind of is now. The '60s were the gateway between the old Archie and the new Archie," added Goldwater.

The Archies is produced by Akhtar and her longtime collaborator Reema Kagti under their production house Tiger Baby, Graphic India and Archie Comics.

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