The first image that the word ‘Bollywood’ conjures up is one of song and dance. And Netflix’s “The Archies” promises to be a prime example of that.
“The Archies” is a 1960s-set feature film adaptation of the Archie comics, which are hugely popular on the Indian subcontinent. The musical drama is directed by Zoya Akhtar and produced by Akhtar and Reema Kagti (“Dahaad”) for Tiger Baby and Sharad Devarajan for Graphic India. It is written by Kagti, Akhtar and Ayesha DeVitre (“Kapoor & Sons”).
Young actors Mihir Ahuja, Dot, Yuvraj Menda and Vedang Raina feature in the film’s cast. The offspring of Bollywood royalty are debuting in the film, including Khushi Kapoor, the daughter of the late actor Sridevi and producer Boney Kapoor and sister of Janhvi Kapoor; superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana Khan; and Agastya Nanda, the grandson of revered actors Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan.
The music by Ankur Tewari and the Islanders and the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio is on the Sony Music India label.
Songs are a crucial part of most Bollywood films and play a key role in their promotion, whether its a theatrical release or a direct-to-digital premiere like “The Archies.”
“Its a coming-of-age musical, a beautiful story of love, friendship, heartbreak, all nicely interwoven with some great music,” Vinit Thakkar MD of Sony Music India, told Variety. “We have 16 tracks. The whole story is beautifully expressed through music and spoken words.”
“But I think even for other films, music is intrinsic to culture and the fabric of the [Indian] society. Music takes the conversation or the story forward from one point to the other even today in a lot of films. So, it is integral to help to build on the narrative and the story,” Thakkar added.
Sony’s promotions for the film include an Archies-themed roller disco event in London and a music launch in India where the 1960s as seen in the film was recreated and served as the backdrop of a concert featuring the musical talent from the soundtrack.
Thakkar is confident that “The Archies” soundtrack will resonate beyond India and the diaspora. “One of the wonderful things that you see over the last two or three years is that great content has become deeply language agnostic. Whether it’s content coming from outside of the world into India, which is not necessarily in Indian languages, or even English, has become so popular in this part of the world, we see this over and over with music as well, where different language music has broken across the globe,” Thakkar said.
“We feel that the narrative of the film, the way Zoya has made the movie and the way the music is entrenched in it, and of course, with the distribution across the globe, we as a team are fairly confident that this will appeal to a lot of audiences,” Thakkar added.
“The Archies” streams from Dec. 7 on Netflix.