|Company||Geodesic Information Systems Limited|
|Language||Telugu, Sanskrit, Assamese, Hindi, Oriya (as 'Janhamaamu'), English, Kannada, Marathi, (as 'Chandoba'), Bengali and Tamil|
Chandamama is a classic Indian monthly magazine for children, famous for its illustrations. It also published long-running mythological/magical stories that ran for years. Originally, "Chandamama" was started in Telugu by B.Nagi Reddy and Chakrapani, noted Telugu Film Producer's. It was edited by Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao, a very close friend of Chakrapani and a literary colossus in Telugu Literature, who edited it for 28 years, till his death in August 1980.
The main features of Indian Mythology was completely written by him. Kutumbarao also developed the magazine by encouraging young writers in Telugu and adapted them to suit the Telugu written style that he made so popular in Andhra and the Telugu speaking people for decades. Some of the stories and the folklore features were written by Dasari Subrahmanyam, who made the serials like Patala Durgam, etc., also very popular
It was revamped in November 2008 and has since gone contemporary in terms of language, presentation, artwork, and content. While it continues to carry old favourites like Vikram-Betal and mythological tales, there have been several new additions including contemporary stories, adventure serials, sports, technology, news pages, etc. Considering the new trends in children's literature and the emerging importance given to academic study and analysis of the same, Chandamama has striven to keep its editorial policies in line with the times. As the oldest brand in the field, Chandamama has taken up the responsibility of delivering entertaining, sensitive, and educational literature for its young readers.
Chandamama is published in 13 languages (including English), and has a readership of about 200,000.
Unique style of storytelling
The magazine started the unique trend of telling a story, almost always bound by a common thread of moral values, with a grandparents' style of storytelling in the most flexible third-person narrative mode, on print.
The stories published have been drawn from numerous historical and modern texts in India, as well as from other countries. Mythology, epics, fables, parables and even useful hearsay were spun suitably to feed the impressionable minds so that they seek the right direction in life, even while entertaining them thoroughly. In fact Chandamama continues to be the perfect example for the now popular term 'edutainment' !
The stories embedded in the never-ending story of King Vikramāditya and Vetala (Vampire), an adaptation of an ancient Sanskrit work Baital Pachisi, brought wide repute to this magazine, and were also featured in popular TV serials. In each issue, the Vetala, in order to prevent him fulfill a vow, poses a typical catch-22 question to king Vikramāditya, involving a moral dilemma. The wise king answers correctly, and is thus defeated by the Vetala, forcing the king do it all over again, and again.
The first edition of Chandamama was released in July, 1947. The founder editor of the magazine was B.Nagi Reddy who later became a leading film producer in South India. Chakrapani, a friend of Nagi Reddy, was the force behind magazine, and his vision, perception and understanding of the target readership brought name and fame to the magazine.
Chandamama was first published in Telugu and Tamil (as Ambulimama) in July 1947. Kannada edition first appeared in July 1949 followed by Hindi in August 1949. Marathi (as Chandoba) and Malayalam (as Ambili Ammavan) editions appeared in April 1952 followed by Gujarati in 1954, English in 1955, Oriya (as Jahnamamu) and Sindhi in 1956, Bengali in August 1972, Punjabi in 1975, Assamese in 1976, Sinhala in 1978, Sanskrit in April 1984 and Santali in 2004. The Punjabi, Sindhi and Sinhala editions were published only for a short period. No English editions were published from October 1957 to June 1970. The magazine ceased publication in 1998, owing to labour disputes. However, the magazine relaunched a year later and continues to be published to this day. It is available in 12 Indian languages and English.
For many decades, Chandamama's illustrators defined the look of the magazine. They included such names as M.T.V. Acharya, T. Veera Raghavan, who signed his work as Chithra; Vaddadi Papaiah, who signed as Vapa; Kesava Rao who signed as Kesava; M. Gokhale; and K. C. Sivasankaran, alias Sankar, who joined Chandamama in the year 1951, and continues to draw even now in 2011, in an unbroken association of 6 decades! Later artists such as Shakthi Dass; M. K. Basha, who signed as Razi; Gandhi Ayya, aka Gandhi; and P. Mahesh (Mahe), also continued the tradition into current times. Initially, the covers were printed in four-colours, while the illustrations inside used line drawings. Each page of Chandamama has an illustration, although in the strict sense of the term, Chandamama is not a comic book, with the exception of the Chitra-katha column.
The magazine has been in family hands since foundation, and the current publisher, B Viswanatha Reddy, continues the tradition after taking over the affairs of the magazine from his father. In 1999, the company was floated as a public limited organization, with Morgan Stanley taking a sizable stake in the company.
The current editor is Prashant Mulekar of Geodesic.
Chandamama in the 21st Century
With the acquisition by a technology company, Chandamama has announced that it will digitize and make available much of its content via digital libraries and on the web. In addition, Chandamama Multimedia CDs have also been published.
In late 2007, Chandamama released its revamped internet presence (now more logically found at chandamama.com, a domain-name it acquired after many years) to better cater to readers who demand information and content beyond the printed publication. It has also tied up with satellite radio service provider Worldspace to bring the Indian story telling tradition live through radio.
Chandamama has stopped publishing in all languages from March 2013, without issuing any press release and without giving any notifications or refund to subscribers. A message was given on the official Facebook page of the magazine on 30 May 2013 saying that they could not publish issues from March 2013 because of technical problems, and the magazine will restart publishing from July 2013 onwards. However, the official website of the magazine also went down in July 2013. Presently the website just says "We are currently doing some enhancement and upgrades to the website. We will be back soon".It is not yet clear what is going to be the future of the magazine, and whether it is going to be revived in future.
Chandamama website is back on Jan 2014, however again not available since May-2014 till date. There is no message displayed on www.chandamama.com. It seems this site is not available since then.
- Reddi, B. Viswanatha (1 December 2012). "A true karma yogi". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
- Disney set to tell Chandamama stories
- Reddi, B. Vishwanatha (2008). Chandamama: Celebrating 60 Wonderful Years. Chennai: Chandamama India Ltd.
- Now, catch Chandamama online
- "Geodesic to buy Chandamama for Rs 10 crore". The Times Of India. 7 March 2007.
- "Chandamama to digitise archived issues". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 27 January 2007.
- Comics are serious business
- Chandamama Tamil/Hindi sites launched
- Archives are available at http://www.chandamama.com/archive/storyArchive.php