New Year's eve - no respite from work for TV professionals

'Work hard, party hard' seems to be an adage applicable only to on screen talent on the telly.

With 2003 less than 36 hours away, artistes we spoke to were already packing their overnight bags for a whirlwind round of partying in and around the metropolises of Mumbai and New Delhi. No such luck for the channel executives though, most of whom are merely looking forward to a quiet evening at home on 31 December.

With a slew of fresh programming lined up in January, most channel execs are too wound up to unwind for a New Year‘s party!

So, while Boogie Woogie host Jaaved Jafferey is already vacationing with family and friends in Mahabaleshwar to ring in the new year, Sony‘s programming head Nachiketa Pantvaidya will have no respite from work - he will be in office on 31 December as well as on the first day of 2003. ‘Yatra‘ producer and anchor Deepti Bhatnagar is not journeying far for her party - a Madh Island party awaits her friends, but AXN‘s ad sales head Rohit Bhandari has no action lined up for the morrow. Says he, " For the past four to five years I have spent the 31st at home. Traffic is a serious problem and as 12 o‘clock approaches the environment can be a real nuisance.On the 31st morning, I will be working as usual."

Mumbai traffic indeed seems a serious deterrent to serious partying for television industry professionals. Zee TV president Apurva Purohit shares a similar view. A breathless Purohit returned to office on December 30 after a few days out on official work, too is not going party hopping. "I think, I‘ll be with few friends either home or at one of their‘s to usher in the New Year pretty quietly," Purohit said, adding, "I think I am too old to go party hopping and, moreover, with heavy traffic on Mumbai roads on December 31, who wants to usher in New Year stuck in a traffic jam on, say, Linking Road?"

"I have the most fabulous date with a cute young girl. Her name is Khushi and we will spend quality time at home as she is my daughter" - B4U chief marketing officer, Rajnish Lall.

The MTV gang seems to have found a way out of the impasse. Most of the team is on leave and out of Mumbai. Chief whip Alex Kuruvilla has taken off, family in tow, to New York. Corporate communications head Hemant Kenkre says he is one of the few who just came in from a holiday to hold fort while the others go party hopping for the next few days.

Destination Goa it is for many television professionals and artistes

The whole Star TV team is out too for the next few days, and untraceable. Goa seems to be among the favoured destinations with Star senior vice-president programming content & communication Tarun Katial also in the coastal state. So is Inhouse Productions chief Uday Sinhwala and BAG Films‘ Anuradha Prasad. Most artistes including Shweta Kwatra, Saakshi Tanwar and Smriti Malhotra are making the most of the festive season - all out of Mumbai!

A bulk of the others and that includes UTV promoter Zarina Mehta, ESPN head Manu Sawhney, SET MAX chief Rajat Jain and Zee English & Zee MGM head Ajay Trigunayat are all contemplating a busy day in office followed by a quiet dinner at home with close family. And no, watching TV figures nowhere in their scheme of things for tomorrow. Except for Jain, who loyally plans to watch Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham on Sony!

Still the 31st is not a humdrum affair for everyone. NDTV‘s Prannoy Roy is away on a short winter vacation with his family and is unreachable. Rohinton Maloo whose Cutting Edge Media handles ad sales for Zee MGM, English and Hallmark will spend serious time on the high seas. " Tomorrow I will be working half-day. In the evening I will be having a party on my private yacht with my close circle of friends. Before that though I will be busy making arrangements for the drinks," he anticipates the coming day with relish.

"I will watch Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham on Sony" -SET MAX chief Rajat Jain

B4U‘s chief marketing officer Rajnish Lall too has an interesting evening ahead. "I have the most fabulous date tomorrow with a cute young girl. I am madly in love with her and I have a feeling that it will be the best evening in my life. Her name is Khushi and we will spend quality time at home as she is my daughter."

Still making plans for the New Year can be difficult. VP Zee English and MGM Ajay Trigunayat said, " I have been getting a lot of SMS calls on what should be done tomorrow. I had earlier planned trips to either Goa or Matheran but things did not work out. I will be working tomorrow and may be even on the first."

One doesn‘t know what the Zee CMD Subhash Chandra is doing tomorrow, but his two relatively low profile brothers, Jawahar and Laxmi Goel will be "with friends" on New Year‘s eve. "I have just one party to go to at the Gas Authority of India Ltd and that‘s it for me," says Laxmi Goel, director, news group, Zee Telefilms. He adds that he has planned a big do at the Zee studio on 4 January for office people and their friends.

" I will be having a party on my private yacht with my close circle of friends"- Cutting Edge Media, managing director Rohinton Maloo

SABe TV chairman, Gautam Adhikari, taking his Guinness record rather seriously, will continue his shooting streak on new year‘s eve. When queried about New Year plans he replied candidly "I will be shooting as usual."

According to Jawahar, head of Siti Cable, "I‘ll spend 31 December with my family at home quietly."

The who‘s who of the Delhi TV industry too seem to be geared more for work rather than for partying. Take, for example, the busy Raghav Bahl, managing director of Television Eighteen Ltd. - he too is quite content to be home with his family, far away from the madding crowd. "I generally spend the last day of the year home and this year won‘t be any different," Bahl says.

The high-profile Rajat Sharma, too is spending time with his family on New Year‘s eve. "For effects I can tell you that I plan to take the family to California, but to tell you the truth, I am not going out anywhere this 31st," says Sharma, adding, "It would be a working day for me and I plan to spend the evening with my family and kids."

Prasar Bharati chief executive K S Sarma may not be partying the night away, but he is out of Delhi. "On tour," comes the officious feedback.

"I think, I‘ll be with few friends either home or at one of their‘s to usher in the New Year pretty quietly" - Zee TV president Apurva Purohit

When we asked what was the reason for a majority of the small screen stars prefering to be `boring‘ rather than adventurous, a stock reply came from those associated with news: the time from January to March is a crucial one and it is better to work even on 31 December rather than party. "Anyway, leading up to December 31 has seen so many parties that I don‘t feel like going to another one," Sharma adds helpfully.

ESPN India head Manu Sawhney has just "returned from a short vacation" and, presumably, will be very much in office on 31 December too. But not everybody has become a non-party animal. TV producer Anuradha Prasad with her Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament husband, Rajiv Shukla , along with the likes of socialite Bina Ramani, is away in Goa - and will only return presumably to work on January 2. After a good vacation.

Still considered the big daddy of television --- and Bollywood, no doubt --- Amitabh Bachchan one learns will spend time the New Year‘s eve at Jaisalmer with close friends and family.

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