Archie, Betty, Veronica are not new to Bollywood — they are every love triangle ever

As Zoya Akhtar and Netflix announce an Indian film adaptation of Archie Comics, let's admit the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle has been a recurring theme in Hindi cinema, from 1960s till date.

Devansh Sharma November 11, 2021 12:00:18 IST
Archie, Betty, Veronica are not new to Bollywood — they are every love triangle ever

Soon, a young actor will go the Katrina Kaif-in-Fitoor way and dye his hair red. He could also do with some fake freckles as he steps into the shoes of Archie Andrews.

Netflix India has announced The Archies, an Indian film adaptation of Archie Comics, to be directed by Zoya Akhtar. They will now embark on what Bollywood has been practising sans permission (no, go beyond the remakes and posters).

The Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle has inspired many a Bollywood films, knowingly or otherwise. Dozens of popular films have resorted to the archetypal Archie dilemma where the boy is torn between a rich uptown girl (Veronica) and a middle class girl-next-door (Betty). The graph is also quite similar as the Betty character often gets friendzoned and the Veronica character becomes the bae.

On Throwback Thursday, Firstpost looks back at nine well-known films that incorporated this trope into their storylines, or where the filmmaker organised elaborate reading sessions of Archie Comics at Pop Tates' Chocklit cafe.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Smitten by the filmy keeda after assisting childhood friend Aditya Chopra in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Karan Johar vowed to make his directorial debut with a film of the same syntax yet a familiar universe that resonates with the new millennium. In his memoir, An Unsuitable Boy, Johar reveals his primary inspiration behind the 1998 blockbuster romantic drama Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (particularly the first half) was Archie Comics.

That is probably why the college depicted in the film was painted in signature Riverdale colours and christened (pun intended) as Xavier's. But any aware Xavierite, like yours truly, would raise a finger towards the basketball court and tell you it isn't Xavier's. Karan is a cheater! — repeat that in annoying Kajol tone.

Anjali, Kajol's character was inspired from Betty Cooper. She plays a tomboy who falls for Shah Rukh Khan's Archiesque Rahul but is forced to play second fiddle to her BFF Tina, Rani Mukerji aka the bhajan-singing Veronica (mini-skirts and all). Rahul spreads his arms towards Tina but high-fives Anjali (and also touches her nose for some unhygienic reason). Years later, Rahul realises it was always Anjali when he sees her in a sari. Yes, that's called beating Veronica by nine whole yards (or 6, depending on your choice of attire)

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander

As Ayesha Jhulka's Betty character imagines Aamir Khan's Archie feel her up on a haystack (sanskari masturbation), Pooja Bedi's Veronica does a Marilyn Monroe on a car's bonnet. With her innovative dreamy choreography, Farah Khan establishes in 'Pehla Nasha' the stark contrast between the two leading ladies, in terms of appearances and social backgrounds.

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Biwi No 1

David Dhawan's version of Archie Comics was Salman Khan (Archie) pursuing a sensuous Sushmita Sen (Veronica), cheating on the sari-mangalsutra-clad Karisma Kapoor. Here, sari is not a symbol of sexuality (no, don't think Main Hoon Na) but that of domestication along with hair tied up in a jooda (bun).

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Dil Apna Preet Parai

In this 1960 film, the socioeconomic lines are defined clearly. Raajkumar's Archie (as weird as that sounds) is a surgeon who is besotted by Meena Kumari's Betty (no, not beti), a nurse. But owing to a family debt, he gets married to Nadira's Veronica, a rich family friend whose father paid for his medical bills. This was truly, in all probability unintentional, the Bollywoodisation of Archie Comics.

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Judaai

Raj Kanwar devised the most craft Betty ever. Sridevi struck with Urmila Matondkar a unique dhan-for-tan deal. As per the deal, Matondkar offers her riches in lieu of Sridevi's husband, played by Anil Kapoor's Archie (no red chest hair). So, who's the gold-digger now?

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Lagaan

Aamir yet again falls for the gori madam in stead of gaon ki gori (village belle). Ashutosh Gowariker had Gracy Singh whine about getting Radha-zoned by Bhuvan who goes about making his coloniser "feel eternal bliss".

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Barfi!

Here, economics takes a back seat and health is what separates Betty from Veronica. Ileana D'Cruz plays a hail and hearty desirable Veronica but Ranbir Kapoor's mute Archie cannot help but feel for Priyanka Chopra's autistic Jhilmil.

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Aitraaz

Lawyer Betty (Kareena Kapoor) comes to rape-accused Archie's (Akshay Kumar) rescue from the lofty seductress Veronica (wearing an 'I Luv Amrish Puri' T-shirt), played by Priyanka Chopra. The action moves from college to court, the tone from frothy to dark and Archie from Veronica to Betty.

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

Cocktail

After years of secrecy, Bollywood finally admitted it's an Archie Comics fanboy when Homi Adjania named his protagonist Veronica. Deepika Padukone's character was everything that the Lodge khaandaan ki beti represented — wild, wealthy and whatever. Saif Ali Khan played a metrosexual Archie who after a desperate detour towards Veronica goes back to the sanskari, tongue-clicking Diana Penty.

Archie Betty Veronica are not new to Bollywood  they are every love triangle ever

It is evident that Bollywood suffers from the redhead dilemma syndrome. Now that it is owning up to the same, one can expect the vertices of the classic Archie-Betty-Veronica to go razor-sharp.

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