‘The Archies,’ directed by Zoya Akhtar and Ryan Brophy, is a bright teen romantic drama movie with characters based on ‘Archie Comics.’ The story is framed in the picturesque town of Riverdale in 1960s India. It follows Archie and his group of friends as they navigate the challenges of oncoming adulthood while celebrating their camaraderie and exploring romances. The merry gang has grown up in the quaint town, and when its park is about to be torn down for a commercial venture, they unite to preserve their childhood playground. Witnessing the nostalgic scenes unfold around a backdrop reminiscent of a European countryside, you might wonder where shooting for the Hindi-language Netflix film took place.
The Archies Filming Locations
‘The Archies’ was almost entirely filmed in the hill station of Ooty, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, with a few scenes being filmed at a studio in Mumbai. Nestled in the Nilgiri hills, Ooty was founded as a British Raj summer resort. It has the architecture and atmosphere Zoya Akhtar needed to create the fictional 1960s town of Riverdale. Principal photography for the film commenced on April 18, 2022, and was carried out for several months before wrapping up on December 19 of the same year. Let’s traverse through the stunning shooting sites of ‘The Archies,’ and the experiences of the people who helmed it.
Famous for its lush tea plantations, verdant landscapes, and colonial architecture, Ooty offers an alluring backdrop for filming. Throughout ‘The Archies’, we feast our eyes on the magnificent landscape featuring rolling hills, lakes, and arrayed pine trees. While looking for a location to set up the town of Riverdale, the directors chose to go with an Anglo-Indian theme as it came closest to the style of Archie comics. When they met John Goldwater, the co-founder of the eponymous publisher, he wished for them to create a wholesome young teen romance with family values in line with the grain of ‘Archies,’ as opposed to the dark and edgy twist taken by ‘Riverdale.’
Ooty, thus, became the perfect destination for ‘The Archies,’ portraying an innocent charm and playful allure sought by the filmmakers. Over the course of the film, we can spot some distinct landmarks and geographical features of the South-Indian hill station. Traversing hillsides, tunnels, and forests, Nilgiri Mountain Railways is also known as the toy train. It offers one of the most scenic train rides in the entire country and is featured coming into the town of Riverdale, rolling past its signboard. The train’s ride was made timeless by “Chaiyya Chaiyya,” featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora in ‘Dil Se.’
The serene lakes of Ooty are sights that are hard to miss as the gang travels along by bus and hikes through the hillside. The Fernhills palace, formerly the summer home of the Maharaja of Mysore, is featured in a light blue color in the film. The residence resembling a Swiss Chalet served as a perfect filming location for an affluent homestead. The erstwhile private residence is a popular filming destination, especially for Mollywood, with movies such as ‘In Ghost House Inn,’ ‘Thalavattam,’ ‘Mr. Marumakan,’ ‘Minnaram,’ and ‘Ulladakkam’ lensed here.
For a few scenes, the production team headed by Suzanne Caplan Merwanji created sets based on the English and Gothic architectural style of Ooty, amalgamating them with other 1960s styles from Hill stations around India. The hill station’s timeless charm and diverse settings have attracted filmmakers seeking unique backdrops for various film genres, lending itself to popular movies such as, ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar,’ ‘Maine Pyar Kiya,’ ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,’ ‘Raaz,’ and ‘Barfi.’
The sprawling metropolis of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), widely known as the entertainment capital of the country since it is the home base of the Indian film industry AKA Bollywood, in the Indian state of Maharashtra, is also where a portion of the film was shot. The city saw the film crew of ‘The Archies’ set up camp in Goregaon to shoot a music video. The main cast members were seen sporting school uniforms for the classroom-themed musical number. Additionally, Zoya Akhtar was also spotted along with a few crew members in Mauritius, surveying locations for a possible shoot which seems to have not materialized.
Read More: Where Did Filming of Riverdale Take Place?