How The Archies Navigates Bollywood Genres And Problematic Plot Points


The Archies on Netflix is the latest from writer-director Zoya Akhtar that becomes one of the best Young Adult films within Bollywood. The Archies plot points show a fresh perspective of the genre in a prominent new way. Many four-quadrant, ‘family-friendly’ Bollywood films still have many problematic elements not suitable for all all-ages. But Zoya Akhtar’s The Archies very clearly knows the genre it is set in and caters to audiences within it. By dealing with certain Bollywood tropes in incredibly new and unique ways.

Please note that the following will contain many spoilers for The Archies, now streaming on Netflix.

It’s A Young Adult Story For A Very Specific Demographic


Genre is a concept very much lost on some Bollywood audiences. This explains why there were toddlers at a late-night screening of Pari, an obvious horror movie. Or why entire families, along with grandma and the kids come along to a screening of Talvar, a true story about grizzly murders. This is also why most four-quadrant Bollywood films will contain a mix of everything from love story, extreme violence, gore, and explicit subject matter. In an attempt to cater to every audience by giving each something in the movie to enjoy. You can see how that may be a problem for audiences only wanting to see a movie set in only one of those genres.

The Archies is one of those movies that is very much one thing; a high school musical about Anglo-Indian kids in 1960s India. And it stays true to that genre throughout. The main characters’ conflicts are about what college to attend, what career to choose, which girl to love, and so on. Even the larger story honours the YA genre by staying in its lane. The drama stems from the kids having to grow up and save their town. There aren’t any Rohit Shetty-like action sequences to save the day. 

The Love Triangle Plot Point Has A Wholesome End

The Archies plot points triangle

One of the main features of Archie Comics translated beautifully into The Archies, is the love triangle between Archie (Agastya Nanda), Veronica (Suhana Khan) and Betty (Khushi Kapoor). In the comics, when the girls inevitably find out about Archie two-timing them, it always ends in a joke, or a funny situation where Archie gets his comeuppance. In The Archies plot points, Betty and Veronica find out that Archie cares about them both, and confronts him. But not in a way that is dismissive of any one characters’ feelings.

The girls mutually decide and then inform Archie of their decision to not let any potential romantic relationship get in the way of their friendship. No competition, jealousy or animosity between the women. Just a mature and reasonable conversation that preserves the friendship while still putting Archie in his place. Whereas many other Bollywood love triangles will end with a pairing, regardless of if it makes sense in the story or not, leaving one character out in the cold. And speaking of…

The Archies Plot Points Deals With Unrequited Love

The Archies plot points Dilton

Another great way that The Archies plot point deals with one of Bollywood most problematic storylines, is through the arc of Dilton (Yuvraj Menda). While it’s not explicitly stated in the film, it’s implied that Dilton is queer, with a massive crush on Reggie (Vedang Raina). While all the other characters seem oblivious to this, it almost comes out during an innocent game of truth or dare. When Dilton is unable to share his secret with his best friends, he retreats to his room. Reggie visits him, and in a very sweet way, reveals to Dilton that he knows. Reggie not only is there to support Dilton but also apologizes for not being able to feel the same way about Dilton. The conversation ends on a sweet note of friendship.

This is one of the best ways I’ve ever seen unrequited love handled. In a way that doesn’t condescend, talk down or dismiss the other person’s feelings. It also doesn’t make things worse as the person flaunts their chosen relationship in the face of the one whose love isn’t returned. Bollywood is full of stories of unrequited love, but this was one of the greatest depictions of a scene featuring that plot point. 

The Archies Doesn’t Make Ambition Into A Negative Thing

The Archies plot points Ethel

More often than not, Bollywood will depict the concept of ambition as a negative thing. Wanting to be rich or successful is bad. Wanting love and togetherness is good. The Archies plot points deal with this through the character of Ethel (Aditi Saigal). When a new bigger salon moves into Riverdale, they poach Ethel, the town’s best hairdresser, promising more money and advancement in her career. Ethel accepts. In one scene Jughead makes an offhanded remark about people who chase after money. To which, Ethel replies that there is nothing wrong with wanting to progress in one’s career. 

This is such a refreshing perspective to put into an Indian movie. The fact that there is no shame or anything wrong with chasing success or money. Everyone’s dreams and hopes are different, and no one should be shamed for wanting one over the other. A message you rarely used to see in Bollywood, where most villains, such as Hiram Lodge in the movie, are the rich and powerful. 

A Certain Plot Point In The Archies Is Very Subtle


Subtlety is not a trait that general Bollywood is used to. Most traditional Bollywood movies will beat the message of their story over the audiences’ heads. Tales of morality and righteousness are especially aggressive in doing so. However, one of The Archies plot points is how their small town’s historic park is at risk of becoming the land for a new hotel. So these teenagers, mostly concerned with trivial things in life, have to mature and start a movement to save the park. 

This storyline is all about activism. About organizing peaceful protests, and how the young kids are able to appeal to the townsfolk and get majority signatures from them to stop the land deal. But the movie doesn’t inspire the kids through dramatic monologues or nationalistic speeches. There are no side character’s death or other cheesy inciting incident that motivates them to come together. It’s just a gradual realization that there are things bigger than themselves. This is how it works in real life; gradually, over time and through one’s experiences. 

The Archies is now streaming on Netflix. 

How did you feel about these The Archies plot points? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Or follow me on X (formerly Twitter) at @theshahshahid for more Bollywood discussions. 

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Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad