What would Friends look like if it was shot in Mumbai? | Condé Nast Traveller IndiaMay 26, 2021
A still from the Friends episode titled “The One with the Rumor”. Photo: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
It’s been 17 years since Friends, the iconic show that has stayed with generations of tv-buffs both young and old, ended in 2004. The show ran for 10 years across 10 seasons and gave us references to use for a lifetime, from “Joey doesn’t share food!” to the strangely catchy Smelly Cat song. As the cast comes together for a special reunion (premiering on 27 May), we can’t help but wonder what Friends would have looked like if it was shot in Mumbai instead of New York. Where would the characters live? Where would they hang out? And how would the show be different?
If Friends was shot in Mumbai
“You’re still in bed at ten, And work began at eight…”
In the series, Monica and Rachel live together, with Chandler and Joey in the opposite apartment and their favourite coffee shop, Central Perk just downstairs. Ross, Monica’s brother moves in close by after he gets the Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment across the street. Considering that the gang lived in Manhattan with their meagre-pay jobs (that they barely went to), we’d say that if they lived in Mumbai, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Joey and Ross would probably live in an apartment complex in Bandra close to the Candies outlet in Pali Hill. Phoebe would probably reside in the more offbeat (and relatively cheaper) Chimbai village apartment in old Bandra. The quiet lane just behind St. Andrews Church has an old-world charm and personality of its own, untouched by the other gentrified parts of Bandra, much like the quirky and ever-surprising Phoebe.
“Your job’s a joke, you’re broke…”
Ross Geller was a palaeontologist—a term most of us became familiar with only through the show—and worked as a museum curator at the New York Museum of Prehistoric History and college professor at New York University. Closer home, he would probably be splitting his time managing the natural history section of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay (CSMVS) at Kala Ghoda and teaching at St. Xavier’s College closeby. When Chandler isn’t taking people by surprise with his sarcasm, he’d probably be slogging away at his day job at one of the many financial firms in Bandra Kurla Complex. Joey would most definitely be seen at cafés and haunts around Lokhandwala and Oshiwara, trying to get meetings with agents and attending casting calls in narrow, leafy back-lanes. Monica would be the extra-vigilant head chef at a swanky (and spotless) restaurant in Bandra, while we see Rachel as a personal shopper at Le Mill in Colaba, where she would help customers style looks featuring brands like Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Péro. It would also be where she spends most of her salary every month.
“It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear…”
Central Perk is one of the most iconic sets in the show, with several real-life versions of the coffee shop cropping up across New York in the years after the show aired. In Mumbai, one would probably find the gang hanging out in a cosy corner up the winding stairs of Candies in Pali Hill, Bandra. This is where they would meet potential dates that go wrong, wait tables when they need the money and spend lazy hours over several cups of coffee, venting about everything from work to their love lifes. All with a side of the cafe’s special chicken puffs, salads, chutney sandwiches and coffee.
“I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to fall…”
Each episode of Friends opens with the now-familiar I’ll be there for you theme song by The Rembrandts, with visuals of the cast dancing and goofing off in front of a fountain. While the original song was shot at Warner Bros Studio in Los Angeles, in Mumbai, the song would undoubtedly be shot at Flora Fountain at Hutatma Chowk in Fort. Of course, it might be a little difficult to hear the tunes over the din of daily traffic as commuters make their way in kaali-peelis to CST and Churchgate station.