Director’s Cut: 'Agastya Nanda Didn't Want To Act But We Tested Him For The Archies', Says Zoya Akhtar

Director’s Cut: 'Agastya Nanda Didn't Want To Act But We Tested Him For The Archies', Says Zoya Akhtar

Zoya talks about unique adaptation of the Archies comics set in India, casting new faces, bonding with Reema Kagti and more.

Lipika VarmaUpdated: Sunday, December 10, 2023, 12:40 PM IST
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The Archies helmed by Zoya Akhtar is adapted from the popular American series. The story is of young teenagers experiencing love, romance, rebellion, grief and heart breaks belonging from Riverdale. The lead cast comprises Suhana Khan, Agastya Nanda, Mihir Ahuja, Yuvraj Menda, Khushi Kapoor and others. The film released on December 7, 2023 on an OTT platform.

In an exclusive interview with The Free Press Journal, Zoya talks about unique adaptation of the Archies comics set in India, casting new faces, bonding with Reema Kagti and more.

On bonding with Reema Kagti, she shares, We follow certain rules and we adhere to like who so ever is directing, so the director will take the final call. We have worked so much together that at this juncture we trust each other and discuss and take a call for betterment of the project. We are mature. There is a little bit of division, usually I handle the social media. Since Reema is better in accounts so she looks into that sphere while we do a project together.”

“We write one liners together. Then we write separately. We are open to any changes as we know it's for the betterment of the project. I feel the story is our strength together. Reema's bigger strength is screenplay writing. Also, her editing is to the point. I can be elaborate while editing. My strengths are characterization, layering and adding nuances etc.,” she adds.

Sharing further on adapting a comic book and taking it forward, she tells, “The Archie's was our favourite comic book as a child. We rarely get such chances. This opportunity fell in our lap so we made a film. This is for global reach. This is the first time we are making it so by no chance we could say no.”

The Archies marks the journey of new faces, “No one has worked in front of the camera professionally, except Mihir. So, it was easy to mould them because these comic characters are iconic. Fresh and new faces were ideal to be cast. If you take any star, they would come with baggage, so, we wanted fresh new actors so they look believable. Hence, we cast newcomers; their energy and excitement is contagious.”

“I am used to handling actors. There was no pressure handling star kids as everyone knew it’s an ensemble cast of seven characters. And every character has a beginning, middle and end. They know what to accept. Agastya, Suhana and others were all auditioned. We wanted the characters in the age group of 17 years. Agastya didn’t want to act. He is into business but we tested him and he came for an audition,” Zoya further reveals.

When asked if she faced challenges while working with them, she replies, “Challenges were too vast as these are iconic characters. Also, we have an idea what kind of characters these Archies are like. Since, all the actors were kept together and they learned their technical job very well under training period. So, they were like thorough professionals on the sets. I enjoyed working with all of them. They were their own self. They are very easy and fun to work with. My staff loved working with these newcomers. They were very encouraging.”

On a parting note, Zoya avers that she shows her work to father Javed Akhtar. “I show all my work to Javed saab from the very first cut. Whatever he feels, he will say it straight up on my face. My parents are the ones who give their opinion whatever they retain. My brother Farhan too is just fine with his comments,” she concludes.

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