Last month, a bomb was dropped that rocked my very world. Archie Comics (US) and Graphic India were partnering up to create a Bollywood-inspired live-action Archie movie. Bollywood and Archie. Two of my great loves together at last!
Archie Comics are actually a staple in many Indian cities and towns. I was introduced to them by way of my immigrant mother, who read them herself growing up in Mumbai. So, and I can’t believe I actually am going to write this sentence: Let’s do a dream cast for this Bollywood Archie movie. I have a lot of opinions. One caveat: It’s Bollywood. They’re not going to cast actual teenagers. So there are no actual teenagers on this list.
Sidharth Malhotra as Archie Andrews
Archie Andrews is your everyday average boy-next-door. He’s on the football team, but also sort of a relatable klutz. He’s constantly dating the two most-eligible girls in town. I can think of no one better to play Archie than Sidharth Malhotra. Sidharth has been a Bollywood mainstay for years, but it was his performance in 2016’s Kapoor and Sons that locked this in for me. He’s relatable and handsome, but he’s not afraid to be the butt of a joke or to let his vulnerable side show.
Sushant Singh Rajput as Jughead Jones
Jughead Jones is my favorite character, and Archie’s best buddy. He’s gangly, acerbic, too smart to get caught up in nonsense, and above all else always hungry. Sushant Singh Rajput could eat this role for breakfast (see what I did there). Tall and lanky, he certainly looks the part. He’s done everything from sports dramas to romantic comedies to science fiction, so a comic book movie seems like a natural next step.
Alia Bhatt or Sara Ali Khan as Betty Cooper
There are two excellent options for Betty Cooper. First, we have Alia Bhatt. We already know Alia has great onscreen chemistry with real-life-ex Sidharth Malhotra, and we know she can be funny and down to earth as well as jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The other is Sara Ali Khan. Khan hasn’t yet made her Bollywood debut, but with a dad like Saif Ali Khan and a mom like Amrita Singh, you know she grew up with great teachers. She would be the girl-next-door to Archie’s boy-next-door. No doubt that Khan would inhabit Cooper’s intelligence, openness, and readiness to love.
Sonam Kapoor as Veronica Lodge
Sonam Kapoor was the first and only name that came to mind for Veronica Lodge. As the daughter of Anil Kapoor, Sonam is actual Bollywood royalty. She’s a fashionista, she’s smart, and well-rounded. She’s brought tears to my eyes both from tragedy (Neerja) and comedy (Khoobsurat). I’d love to see her in the role as an entitled, beautiful rich girl who doesn’t take no for an answer.
Ranbir Kapoor as Reggie Mantle
Reggie is part sleaze, part con-man, part arrogant jerk, and just the teeniest-tiniest part decent human being (every 347th strip). Ranbir Kapoor has this in the bag. He’s talented and handsome, he can dance with the best of them, and he is aware of it, Thank You Very Much.
Varun Dhawan as Moose Mason
If this was 15-25 years ago, I’d be inclined to recommend Salman Khan or John Abraham. Although this is Bollywood, so they genuinely might still cast a 50-year-old as our favorite muscle-man jock anyway. Instead, I think we should go with Varun Dhawan. Dhawan is getting a kick out of his "I’m-the-new-Akshay-Kumar" action-comedy roles, and he would be a great fit for Moose’s punch first, speak later perspective.
Kangana Ranaut as Cheryl Blossom
Who else could play stirrer-of-trouble Cheryl Blossom than in-real-life stirrer of trouble Kangana Ranaut. I kid, sort of. Ranaut has been very vocal (and correct) in calling out Bollywood’s nepotistic tendency. She’s unabashedly feminist in a sexist industry, and it’d be a treat to see her bring that mood and strength to the role of one of Riverdale’s most misunderstood characters.
Jaya Bachchan nee Badhuri as Ms. Grundy
Bachchan has had so many roles with that gray hair packed back into a tight bun, she was the first name I thought of to play everyone’s favorite teacher.
Anupum Kher as Mr. Weatherbee
How could I choose anyone other than Anupum Kher to play the illustrious Riverdale High principal, Mr. Weatherbee? Kher, whom you may remember from films like Bend is Like Beckham and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge, was basically created in a lab to play this part.