5 min read

Did You Know American Sitcom Friends Was Remade In India As ‘Hello Friends’?

Vatsal Thakore

May 26, 2021

5 min


Ahead of Friends Reunion, take a look at Zee TV show Hello Friends, which was an Indian version of the American sitcom, made in 1999.

Friends Reunion premieres on ZEE5 on 27 May 2021 at 12.32 pm!

Friends is probably the most popular American sitcom that has been running strong till today. Even though the show ran from 1994-2004, it still has fans and followers who actively discuss the show, and love to watch its reruns. Right from its first season in 1994, the show had gained a lot of popularity that later became worldwide. But did you know that even in those days without the internet, Friends had gained such wide reach and popularity that in 1999, an Indian version of it was made, titled Hello Friends?

Hello Friends, aired on ZeeTV, from September 1999 to February 2000. The show starred the following people in the lead roles:

Simone Singh, who played the role of Sanjana – she was the Monica of the show.

Cyrus Broacha, who played the role of Cyrus – he was Chandler, but after some episodes, he just goes off the show and is replaced by Samir Soni, in a new character, named Samir.

Aparna Tilak, who played the role of Nisha – the Rachel of the show.

Nikhil Chinapa, who played the role of Vikram – the Ross of the show.

Maria Goretti, who played the role of Penny – the Phoebe of the show.

Anil Dimbri, who played the role of Rahul – the Joey.

Source: Still from the show

Hello Friends was mostly a shot for shot remake of Friends. Even the dialogues of the show were mostly just Hindi translations of Friends’ dialogues. The story and the setting of the show were kept as is, however, the characters were given slightly different traits. The Cyrus in this show was way more creepy and flirtatious, unlike Chandler in Friends. And Penny was shown as a straight-up dumb character, unlike the quirky Phoebe. Also, there was one thing which was changed to suit the time and the audience – Vikram’s wife, who divorces him, was not shown to be a lesbian, like Carol was in Friends (knowing that it clearly would not have worked well with the Indian audience in 1999).

Hello Friends even recreated the set of Monica’s apartment to match their own setting. Not only was the blue colour kept as is, but even the door of Sanjana’s flat had a mirror, like Monica’s door in Friends.

Source: Stills from the shows

Also read: 5 Reasons Why I Prefer ‘The Office’ Over ‘Friends’! #UnpopularOpinion

The coffee shop, Central Perk, became Uncle Sam’s Cafe where the friends often met to have chicken rolls and coffee. However, they did not bring Gunther into the Indian setting. In Hello Friends, the cafe was managed by an uncle, Uncle Sam, played by Kunal Vijaykar.

Source: Stills from the shows

Hello Friends, however, did not have a successful run and the show was cancelled way before it reached its mid-way. The last episode in the show was episode 26. While earlier the show seemed to be running with the same pace, after a while it picked up a lot of pace, and in just 26 episodes, it covered the story of about two seasons of the original sitcom. The 26th and the final episode of Hello Friends featured the story of when Rachel is upset with Ross about creating a comparison list and begins dating his doppelganger. As one could predict, Hello Friends did not get a good response from the people and was quickly taken off-air. 

Unlike its Indian remake, Friends gained a huge fan base and succeeded in maintaining it over time. Now that the show has announced a reunion special, the Friends fans cannot hold in their excitement. If you too are excited about it and do not want to miss the Friends Reunion, get your ZEE5 subscription ASAP!


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