This Desi Version of Riverdale is So Crazy That It Might Just Work…

Images: Netflix Press Room

At only RM5 for a Single Digest and RM10 for a Double Digest (at least back in 2005), the comic book world of Archie and his friends was instantly accessible to many of us growing up in Malaysia.

The 2017 live-action series was a stark reimagining of this long-running comic book franchise, with Riverdale bringing in a more mature storyline that went off the rails as the seasons went on. Now, for a unique take on the Riverdale gang, Netflix has given the franchise a Bollywood twist in a new movie. 

The Archies is a coming-of-age musical that follows the lives of 17-year-old highschoolers, Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie, Ethel and Dilton in the fictional hilly town of Riverdale, but that’s as far as similarities go. 

Instead of the eternal 1950s American setting that most Archie fans are used to, this new film is shown through the lens of the Anglo-Indian community. The Archies explores friendship, freedom, love, heartbreak and rebellion in 1960s India. 

Netflix India recently launched the first trailer of this upcoming musical, showing off its retro world, reimagined characters, and a handful of songs the gang will be singing. Archie’s musical aspirations are shown, as well as local tycoon Hiram Lodge’s plans to demolish a local park.

Speaking about The Archies trailer, director Zoya Akhtar stated: “Having spent a lot of my childhood living in an Archie Comic, I’m thrilled to introduce Riverdale to this generation. The characters are iconic, their teenage life innocent, the world simpler, a time when less was more. 

“Archie Comics, Netflix, Tiger Baby and Graphic India were in complete sync and wanted the adaptation to be as wholesome as the original comic was. It’s clean young adult content and was very fresh for Reema and me to work on. It’s also very exciting that a global IP chose the India film industry to make its first feature. Excited to get it out there.”

This Indian adaptation sees the debut of many new up-and-coming actors. For the main love triangle, Agastya Nanda will be Archie Andrews, Khushi Kapoor will take on the role of Betty Cooper, and Veronica Lodge will be portrayed by Suhana Khan.

As for the rest of the cast, Aditi Saigal AKA Dot will play the awkward Ethel Muggs, Mihir Ahuja as the glutton Jughead Jones, local heartthrob Reggie Mantle will be played by Vedang Raina, and Yuvraj Menda will play the smartest kid in school, Dilton Doiley.

The Archies will be released exclusively on Netflix on 7 December 2023.