New Delhi: Recently, renowned Indian director Zoya Akhtar shared profound insights into her latest Netflix venture, The Archies on the popular International show. The conversation delved into her motivation behind bringing the iconic world of Archies to Indian audiences and the importance of showcasing inclusivity in the world of filmmaking.
Zoya reflected on the endearing connection between a fundamentally American universe of Archies and how it was an important aspect of an Indian urban kid’s life back in the 80s. Recalling her own childhood in the 80s, Zoya emphasized the limited access to cultural phenomena at that time. Despite the constraints, Archies comics emerged as a universal experience for many, serving as a portal to the captivating teenage life in the fictional town of Riverdale. Zoya expressed, “It’s crazy that something so fundamentally American was also fundamentally a part of an Indian urban kid’s childhood. Archies was one of the few things that everybody read, and it was a portal to this country.”
As she further elaborated on her decision to adapt ‘The Archies’ for a global audience, Zoya highlighted the nostalgic appeal and the desire for a return to innocence. She expressed her gratitude for Netflix’s initiative to bring the Indian film industry onto the global stage, making ‘The Archies’ a special project she couldn’t turn down. Zoya added, “I just couldn’t say no. It was also like something to go back to, a ‘less is more’ time.
With ‘The Archies’, Tiger Baby has perfectly also captured and showcased the world of Anglo Indians in a way that many people are in awe of. Be it the music, the dance or the accent, audiences really fell in love with the portrayal and the way it was an integral part of the movie. A review by a real Anglo Indian also reads, “I tip my hat off to Zoya and Reema for picking our beautiful community as the backdrop of Archies & I hope to see India continue to love us”
Talking about inclusivity, Kal Penn was impressed by how Zoya sensitively yet impactfully also touched upon incorporating the LGBT (LGBTQIA+) community into the narrative of ‘The Archies.’ Zoya acknowledged India’s vibrant LGBT community and the positive changes that have unfolded since the decriminalization of homosexuality in 2018. She emphasized the evolving nature of society and the role of storytelling and filmmaking in fostering understanding and empathy.
“In 2018, homosexuality was decriminalized. There’s been so much change and real positive change with that. And it’s going to keep evolving. And part of that evolution is storytelling and filmmaking, and somewhere I feel it’s not just like we’re representing something, but you’re taking someone and putting them in someone else’s shoes. You’re humanizing the other,” Zoya shared.
Expressing her gratitude for being part of the film fraternity and being an able individual with the power of storytelling, Archies contributes to positive change, Zoya shared, “I think I’m lucky to be a part of a community that can affect some kind of evolution or change and represent and be there and says how I feel.”
From the roaring success of Dahaad to Made In Heaven 2, and the delightful revival of The Archies and now, Kho Gaye Hum Kahan, Tiger Baby has consistently pushed creative boundaries and all this alone in one year, 2023. Zoya Akhtar’s ‘The Archies’ stands not only as a nostalgic journey but also as a testament to the transformative power of inclusive storytelling, bridging cultures and fostering empathy in a rapidly changing world and being part of a show hosted by Kal Penn’s The Daily Show is just another acknowledgment of that on a global stage.