There is something to be said about the sense of youthful freedom that Zoya Akhtar’s spin on the Archies comicbooks brings on screen. This is no Gully Boy. And these kids are a far cry from the Mumbai chawls of Gully Boy and the wealthy cruisers of Dil Dhadkne Do. The newcomers, all ready to take off, appear invested in the characters they play.
The characters especially Archie(Agastya Anand) , Veronica(Suhana Khan) and Veronica(Khushi Kapoor) retain their core of incorruptible effervescence .And yes Reggie(Vedang Raina) remains vain but kind.
Archies reflects that youthful vibrant part of our past which we left behind as a worldweariness whipped us into conformity. The somber subliminal statement on ecological preservation never overpowers the sheer vibrancy of the youthful brigade.
While all the newcomers are a delight to watch(dressed as they are in-character both sartorially and emotionally) Agastya Nanda as Archie stands out. He has a striking presence and he knows where and how to punctuate his dialogues. Oh, and he knows how to dance.
Zoya Akhtar has opted pastel shades instead of a colourful palate. It is just one of those things that time passages precipitate when liberal minds interpret an iconic cultural institution. And the Archies was that. It influenced upperclass ‘Convent’ teenagers in India into dating flirting and courtship(no sex, though, that came much later) barely years after India had its tryst with destiny.The writing(Ayesha Devitre Dhillon, Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar) lends a sheen of gleam that spreads beyond the surface gloss that this film selfpossessedly traverses.
Archies may not be everyone’s cup of Darjeeling time. But it fresh vibrant and nostalgic. And it gives us so many new talented youngsters who while leaning into nostalgia in their first cinematic adventure, give us hope for the future.