Bollywood star kids Agastya Nanda and Suhana Khan prove their acting chops in ‘The Archies’

The cast of ‘The Archies’.

The cast of ‘The Archies’.

Published Dec 11, 2023


While nepotism is rife in the Bollywood industry, it is a bit of a double-edged sword as the industry was founded by prominent families

As such, it is inevitable to find the baton being handed down to their heirs.

Right now, all eyes are on Zoya Akhtar’s “The Archies”, which introduces Agastya Nanda, who is the grandson of Amitabh Bachchan who is dubbed Bollywood’s Shahenshah (translated: king of kings), and Suhana Khan, who is the daughter of the legendary Shah Rukh Khan, fondly known as King Khan.

And they do their lineage extremely proud, but more on that just now.

The Christmas musical is an Anglo-Indian adaptation of the iconic Archie Comics.

In the film, Nanda (Archibald “Archie” Andrews) and Khan (Veronica "Ronnie" Lodge) share the spotlight with an equally talented cast of Khushi Kapoor (Betty Cooper), Vedang Raina (Reginald Mantle), Mihir Ahuja (Jughead Jones), Aditi “Dot” Saigal (Ethel Muggs), Rudra Mahuvarkar (Moose Mason) and Yuvraj Menda (Dilton Doiley).

The story, set in 1960s India, centres on the close-knit community of Riversdale.

What makes the town so special is that after India got its Independence from Britain, the residents planted trees in the names of their children to commemorate their newfound freedom and hope for the future.

This was done at Green Park and, every year, all the 5-year-old children get to plant their trees.

But the future of Green Park comes under threat, along with its legacy, when Veronica’s parents, Hiram (Alyy Khan) and Hermione (Kamal Sidhu), plot to build a luxurious hotel there.

And Hiram, as with most affluent businessmen who don’t want to get their hands dirty, pays influential people in the town to achieve his objective.

The cast of ‘The Archies’: Agastya Nanda, front left, and Suhana Khan, front right.

Veronica, who spent time abroad and is more worldly than her peers, returns to rekindle her relationship with Archie.

But her BFF, Betty, also has feelings for Archie and he can’t seem to decide between the two of them.

Between stuffing his face, Jughead cautions Archie about the disaster that awaits him if he continues to string the two girls along.

Then there is Ethel, who is planting her feet in the hairdressing business.

Dilton is the brains in the group while Moose is the brawn. And Reginald is happy flirting with Veronica when Archie is preoccupied.

This is a whimsical teen offering, not the standard Bollywood fare for star kids making their debut. It’s fun, light-hearted and family-friendly as it unpacks issues of teen crushes, rejection, loneliness and being misunderstood.

For example, Veronica has everything a girl could wish for from a materialistic point of view. But she has to speak to her father’s PA to chat to him. And her mother is too busy being a social butterfly to pay much attention to her.

Special occasions, like Christmas, become a bleak affair as her parents are often not home to celebrate it with her.

Betty, on the other hand, has a picture-perfect family, as does Archie. Their parents dote on them. And Archie’s dad, as resistant as he is to the idea of his son studying abroad, concedes to his wishes.

Amid navigating the challenges of being teenagers, the gang rally together when they hear of the plans for the hotel.

Their actions leave the townsfolk invested in the future of Green Park and their parents are super proud of their tenacity to challenge a system that has been tainted by corruption.

The entire cast in the series do justice to their respective roles. Of course, the spotlight is inevitably on the kids from two of Bollywood’s most prominent families.

To that end, Nanda, the son of Shweta Bachchan, proves he has the Bachchan genes in his blood. He is confident and convincing in his role. The duality in which he plays a flirt and a nice guy is indicative of his gravitas as an actor.

He is a rising star to look out for.

According to Indian, Amitabh wrote: “T 4825 – Agastya my love blessings and more... you carry the torch ably ahead ❤️❤️❤️”.

Wearing her father’s disarming smile, Khan also stole the show with her performance. She plays a character, historically known for being conceited, with such kindness and playfulness that you can’t help but root for her.

Praising his daughter on X, SRK wrote: “It’s lovely to see your children grown up and starting to work hard.”

“The Archies” is a heart-warming teen comedy, with well-choreographed dance scenes and costumes that complement the setting.

∎ “The Archies” is streaming on Netflix.