Popular television series Friends, starring Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, is celebrating its 25th anniversary today. People across the world love watching the show even now and consider it a stress buster. The 10-season show is very popular in India too. But do you feel the show would have worked as an Indian TV show? Clearly not!
For starters, no parent in our country would have been comfortable seeing youngsters in their mid-20s wasting their life away at a coffee shop. Also, when you can have a cup of hot masala chai at home, who spends hundreds for ‘machine wali coffee’? While they would have cribbed watching the series, they would have tried their best to keep it away from their kids, lest they pick the habit.
The first episode had Ross announcing his wife is a lesbian. Haye rabba! A pregnant wife realises she is actually homosexual. Television sets would have been switched off immediately post this big revelation. And then Rachel walks in as the runaway bride and decides to join the troupe. And rather than pushing her to go back and get married, the gang persuades her to become independent. Didn’t it get just get better, sorry, bitter!
Now most of us (including me), we have grown up to the fact that friends are no less than our siblings. Even in a convent school, we tied rakhis to every guy in the class, seniors and juniors included. ‘Bhai’, ‘dada’, ‘behan’, ‘didi’- we have all grown up addressing most of our friends this way, till, of course, better sense prevailed. In that context – while it’s okay to marry your best friend someday, I wonder how many in the audience would have even been comfortable watching friends getting attracted to each other, even having sex. Ahem, ahem.
One of the highlights of the show was how youngsters deal with love, sex and heartbreaks. While having kids out of wedlock is still frowned upon, an unmarried Phoebe goes on to be the surrogate mother of her brother’s children. Do you think any Indian show would have dared to showcase such a track? No right! And then, though we did accept Jai Walia marrying a girl half his age in Kasamh Se, seeing Monica having in an affair with her dad’s friend Richard, would have been too much to handle for many.
Apart from personal issues, the six besties also had a hard time dealing with their careers. Having some of the most unconventional jobs, the six would have been considered as the pinup models for ‘what you shouldn’t become when you grow up’. Joey, who struggles to become an actor, lives off his BFF Chandler’s money. He is stupid, careless and a big-time player. While on Hindi shows, he would have been boxed either as the comedian or villain, Joey turns out to be the most lovable character in the show. As for Chandler, we still don’t know what did he do to earn such a big paycheck.
But to think of it, if Friends was actually made in the typical Indian format, it would have been so much fun. All those three-shot closeups, the ‘nahin, nahin, nahin’ dialogues, the planning and plotting would have added so much more entertainment to the series. And we could even have an icchadhari naagin or nevla impersonating one of the six friends to take revenge from the others. Also, the 10 seasons would have had one generation leap each time. So by the time the show wrapped up, we would have been witnessing the life story of their great-great-great grandkids. And mind it, the lead characters would have been still played by the original cast – Jennifer, Courtney, Lisa, Matt, Matthew and David!