For the past month, fans of Astro’s Hindi channel Zee Variasi (Ch 108) would have noticed a statement that the channel would no longer be available on Astro from Sept 30.
Astro’s senior vice president (Content Group) Dr Rajamani Chellamuthu explained: “Astro constantly reviews its content proposition to offer the best and most compelling content choices for our customers. In line with best practises, we will look at any channel that is unable to fulfil these objectives and as such, we regret to inform Zee Variasi channel will cease transmission on Astro.
“While we sincerely regret any inconvenience, the reality is that many of the new shows from India are produced in HD quality.”
Pensioner Esther Chan, who has been following Zee Variasi for almost six years now, said: “It is just not right to cut off our daily entertainment like that, especially when we have been following some of these series for years. How will we know the outcome of our favourite shows now?”
Zee Variasi has a daily belt of half-hour soap operas, which airs from 5pm to 9.30pm on weekdays. Some of Chan’s favourite shows include Kaala Teeka, Ye Vaada Raha and Ek Tha Raje Ek Thi Rani.
Like any good soap operas, these shows have many episodes: Kaala Teeka showcased its 261st episode recently, Jamai Raja is well into its 587th episode and Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani showed Episode 305 recently.
Chan added: “Zee has been giving housewives the perfect way to escape our routine for years. Not all of us have HD televisions. My son says he might as well cancel the household Astro subscription now as he was only maintaining it for my Zee shows.”
Come Oct 19, Astro subscribers have the option to check out a new Hindi HD channel called Tara HD.
Rajamani stated: “Fans of Hindi entertainment can continue to enjoy popular local and international Hindi dramas, movies, concerts, award shows, reality shows, documentary and lifestyle programmes on the new Tara HD channel, available on the Family HD Pack.”
From Oct 19 to Nov 20, B.yond subscribers can watch Tara HD for free.
As of press time, it is still unclear what shows will be aired on Tara HD.