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Wet Smack

New Year’s Eve on TV was a damp squib. Those of us who stayed home to avoid crowded venues and a repetition of last New Year’s Eve’s eve-teasing incidents were consoling ourselves that at least there’d be something fun to watch on TV.

Revellers who stayed in to watch telly specials this New Year’s Eve were in for a disappointment

New Year’s Eve on TV was a damp squib. Those of us who stayed home to avoid crowded venues and a repetition of last New Year’s Eve’s eve-teasing incidents were consoling ourselves that at least there’d be something fun to watch on TV. So it came as a disappointment when almost none of the channels had anything worthwhile on.

“We decided to stay in this time because of all that happened during this past one year,” says viewer Sudhanshu Pal,“But there was nothing worth watching on TV. At least this time of the year,there should’ve been something other than the usual rubbish.”

Star Network seemed to put effort in this special occasion. Star Plus had a song-and-dance extravaganza called Mauja hi Mauja which had both big- and small-screen stars perform to some of 2008’s biggest hit songs,Channel [V had DJ Suketu play some of his favourite dance tracks and Star Movies telecast the final installment,At World’s End,of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Besides this,Zee TV aired a musical special at 11:30 pm called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa-Tandoori Nights.

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Anupama Mandloi,programming head at Star Network,says “Mauja hi Mauja was a tribute to the police force by the entertainment industry. It provided a sense of escape from the year gone by,an acknowledgement of the forces who put their lives at risk and a celebration of hope in the year to come.” Some viewers disagree. “It’s no fun watching the same-old Govinda or Shah Rukh dance,especially when they don’t bother to put the same amount of perfection that they do in their movies,” says Devika Mahale,a banking executive,“I even felt choosing Sajid Khan to host the show was a bad move since his jokes can be really tiring at times.”

Saurabh Kanwar,VP of content and communication,Channel [V says they realised a lot of people were opting to stay in. He says,“DJ Suketu played some of his favourite dance tracks,without interruptions,from 11 pm to 1 am,for people to be able to party indoors.” Here again,viewers were left unimpressed. “Music channels did what they always do — play the same songs over and over. It just got so tedious,” says Mahale.

It seemed like TV news channels did something right. Almost every channel had a round-up of the events in 2008 and that was something highly appreciated by viewers. “My family always makes it a point to watch the year-end news specials,” says Sudha Pisharoti,a teacher,“we especially enjoyed CNN IBN’s show since it was well done and comprehensive,which must’ve been a difficult task given how eventful 2008 was.”

But some channels have an explanation for not doing anything special. “We felt like we didn’t have to bother with special New Year programming,” says Anooj Kapoor,business head of Sony SAB,“We’re already doing so well.” Tarun Mehra,business head of Zee TV,makes what seems like the most obvious point when he says,“Even when people stay at home,it isn’t necessary that they would be watching TV.”