New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) Remember the days when there was a plethora of entertainment options on Hindi TV channels on New Year's Eve? Alas! The end of the year entertainment quotient hasn't been the same despite so many channels.
TV was dull and disappointing for the viewers who were hoping to be treated with entertainment special supplements, which was a ritual just a few years back.
With cold wave sweeping the north India during the period, many, especially elderly people and children, prefer to sit with winter delights like peanuts, gajak and rewadi and a cuppa in front of their TV sets expecting the world to implode on their screen. But their expectations took a beating this time around.
It's a myth that everyone parties on the New Year Eve's, said an upset Krishna Singh, a 62-year-old homemaker, and added: "For us, it is a family time. We sit in front of the TV and enjoy the shows and also relive the past by sharing anecdotes."
Except for Doordarshan, some Hindi channels stuck to their regular programes, while others beamed award shows, which were not worthy of note.
Singh rued Doordarshan's attempt at a special, a tribute to the vamps of the Hindi films that was lustreless.
She added: "It reminded me of those says when we just had Doordarshan. I remember how we used to look forward to New Year's Eve programme. I still remember how much everyone enjoyed the New Year's Eve programe, in which Kiran Bedi, then an IPS officer, had made a special appearance."
In a country of 121 crore, over 47 percent of Indian households have television sets and barring a handful of them, a larger section depends on the TV programes to bring fun, frolic and entertainment in their lives on the New Year's Eve.
But it was an uneventful evening on top channels - Star Plus, Sony, Colors or Zee TV.
If Star Plus beamed the lackluster Big Star Entertainment award, the repeat telecast of Golden Petal awards on Colors too lacked the fizz.
Meanwhile, Sony and Life OK or SAB TV relayed regular daily soaps and serials. Zee too was in the same category except for the fact that it interspersed the story of its ongoing show "Doli Armaano Ki" with few dance performances.
Nidhi Rao, who is from the advertising sector, said it was "a bad decision" to do away with the specials.
"There was nothing on TV. Some channels were running normal shows while a few had award functions. I tuned into Doordarshan and what they called New Year Celebration programme was distasteful and bland," Rao said.
According to 2011 census report, of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crore live in rural areas and 37.7 crore in urban areas and all cannot afford celebrations in five-star hotels, house parties or family travel.
So, for a large segment, television's is an important source of entertainment as an average viewer spends around 130 minutes per day watching TV.
"This year, I really missed watching an entertaining show on New Year's Eve," said Sangeeta Bhasin, a working professional.
"I remember that a few years ago, the TV gave our family enough reason to be together, in one room, cheering and rooting for our favourite actors or films and performances," she said.
"But now there are hardly any options and whatever comes, is not entertaining enough. For us, it was better to sleep before the clock struck 12 rather than staying up and be tortured with the sad content," she added.
(Arpana can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)