The rise of new stars

‘My biggest source of guidance is my parents and actually, my entire family. I feel like we all chip in and help each other out,’ says Suhana Khan

The rise of new stars

The Archies actor Suhana Khan said that her parents, superstar Shah Rukh Khan and producer-interior designer Gauri Khan, are her ‘biggest source of guidance’.

The 23-year-old, who is set to make her film debut with Zoya Akhtar’s ‘The Archies’, recently spoke at the India Today Conclave’s session titled ‘New Kids on the Block: Meet the Gen Z of Bollywood, aka The Archies Gang’.

“My biggest source of guidance is my parents and actually, my entire family. I feel like we all chip in and help each other out. I ask mom, ‘Was that okay? Is my hair okay? Is my outfit okay?’” Suhana said.

‘The Archies’, directed by Zoya Akhtar, is an Indian live-action musical movie based on the popular American comics of the same name. It also marks the acting debuts of late star Sridevi and film producer Boney Kapoor’s daughter Khushi Kapoor (Betty) and megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s grandson Agastya Nanda (Archie).

In the ‘Netflix’ film, Suhana plays Veronica, a character she described as someone with a magnetic personality.

“She is unabashedly herself and she knows her worth. That’s something I’m learning from her,” she added.

According to the makers, the 1960s-set film explores friendship, freedom, love, heartbreak and rebellion through the lives of Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie, Ethel and Dilton. It will take audiences to the fictional hilly town of Riverdale.

Everyone on the set of ‘The Archies’ was trying to facilitate Zoya’s vision, Suhana said.

“I guess knowing and realising that I felt extremely nervous and at the same time, incredibly responsible. Zoya made me feel comfortable on my first day and she did this for everyone. She just held her hand through it all. And she made Riverdale feel like home from the very first day,” she added.

Agastya said that he couldn’t have asked for a better team of people to work with than ‘The Archies’.

“These guys over here have become my best friends. And we hang out a bit too much. It’s been a great experience,” he said.

The 22-year-old also shared why he doesn’t have an ‘Instagram’ account.

“I’m just not good with ‘Instagram’ personally, but never say never. Plus, my sister is my greatest PR. She posts everything that I need,” said Agastya, adding that he has a secret profile on the social media app to ‘watch reels’.

Khushi said that it didn’t take the cast time to warm up to each other.

“We were prepping every day together. We were kind of forced to spend so much time together and going through the same experience made us bond so much. Towards the end of the shoot, we were moving in a small herd everywhere together,” she said.

Asked what the best advice was that she got, the 22-year-old said ‘to just have fun’.

Mihir Ahuja, Dot, Yuvraj Menda and Vedang Raina also round out the cast of ‘The Archies’.

Mihir said that Zoya asked him to audition for ‘The Archies’ while they were shooting for season two of the ‘Prime Video’ series ‘Made in Heaven’.

“But I also went through the boot camp, the acting workshops, the camera workshops and everything. It was a learning process for me again,” said the 25-year-old, who plays Jughead in the film.

Dot said that she related a lot to her character Ethel, who, like her, is ‘an oddball’.

“I don’t think I was one of the cool ones growing up. People who like Ethel are some of the more offbeat kinds. I’m happy to serve them,” she said.

Also a singer, the 22-year-old said music is her first love.

“I’m excited to see what this world has to offer me and it’s just a boundless, endless world. I’m excited,” she added.

Yuvraj, who essays the role of Dilton, said that Zoya ensured all the cast members had the essence of the characters they played.

“It’s amazing how accurate she was. All of us identify with our characters so much. That’s what makes it so easy. I think there are so many things about Dilton that are just so true to Yuvraj,” the 21-year-old added.

As a child, Vedang said that he was ‘obsessed’ with Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan as the superhero Krrish.

“I was fascinated by this superhero coming from India. That’s what inspired me as a kid. But after I grew up, the performance that changed the game for me was Matthew McConaughey in ‘Interstellar’ and ‘True Detective’ season one,” the 27-year-old added.

Zoya also serves as a writer on the project, along with filmmaker Reema Kagti and Ayesha Devitre.

Reema was all praise for the young cast.

“They’ve been wonderful. You will see why each one just needed to be the character that they are. Nobody else could have done it. The enthusiasm and hard work are just tremendous. And I mean, you’ll see, I know I keep saying that. But this is something to be seen - how much work these kids have put in and what they’ve managed to create,” she said.

Monika Shergill, VP of Content, ‘Netflix India’, also attended the session.

‘The Archies’ will start streaming on ‘Netflix’ on December 7.

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