Search This Blog

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Filmfare now available in Hindi… big deal!

In the launch issue of Hindi edition of Filmfare, Editor Jitesh Pillai has signed off his edit note with- ‘I hope that the same affection & bonding you would share with Hindi edition of Filmfare the way you have been doing for the last sixty years with English edition’. After going through the issue I was surprised if two products are not at same level in terms of editorial quality & seriousness, how can you expect the same kind of treatment & bonding from the consumer for them?

In fact, for that matter, any magazine which has no editorial vision or has not done complete editorial ground work or is not serious about its standards or does not understand the content needs of its audience that magazine cannot become a great magazine. Perhaps, that might have profitable business preposition and might be treated as a successful magazine but it cannot earn any association and the bonding from the readers. Publishers generally are very serious in terms of following the ‘best’ practices those are necessary when they launch any new magazine or they launch any foreign title in India. Then, why they seem so careless when it comes to launch of a Hindi or any regional language edition of their existing brand? Why do they not care seriously what content is going inside, how that content is presented, what quality & standards are followed when putting an issue together?

By the way, here is another magazine in Hindi… another senseless byproduct as an independent magazine! WWM pvt ltd has launched their flagship brand & almost sixty years old magazine FILMFARE in Hindi. Hindi edition is launched as a monthly magazine while Filmfare English comes twice every month. In the genre of Hindi Films, as it is there are not too many magazines available and whichever is available is also has the same problems- same editorial negligence… step-motherly treated poor Hindi versions of existing established English brands.


Looking at its editorial structure, it looks that either this magazine is put together without any understanding of content needs of its audience OR it is conceptualized very carelessly. If at all, an editorial structure is very critical aspect of any magazine and when any magazine doesn’t have same editorial structure to another magazine (even in the same genre, in the same market), then why it is assumed that the same editorial structure can work for both the versions of Filmfare? It seems as if it is made with just convenience, nothing else. And top of that, section and column names are kept so thoughtless that few of those cannot be understood by its audience.

It is so irritating when you read typical media terms or slangs in Hindi like Paparazzi, Glamfare, Style Check, Hottie, Director’s Cut, Some Like it hot, Summer Blaze, Style Sizzle, Summer Wardrobe, Star Light Express, Photo Play (they forgot conveniently that it is mentioned as ‘Vishisht Photoshoots’ in content pages), Action Replay, Snap Shots, Perfect Man, Bad Boy, Bebolicious, Temptress, Fashion Play (they forgot again that it is mentioned as ‘Fashion Station’ in content pages)…many more! It is an easy excuse if it is said that they never wanted to use hardcore Hindi words so they decided to make it ‘Hinglish’ and that is where problem starts. Because then you need to define very clear and strict guidelines to the desk for ‘what should be written in English and what should be written in Hindi’.

There is no issue in using one content bank for multiple magazines but it should be done smartly and it should have some connect & context also. Here in the Hindi edition of Filmfare, that is fine if content is taken from its English editions, but it is translated so badly that it leaves a bad taste after reading. There is certainly no copy desk guide which could tell translators/desk team that what degree of slang is allowed, how much usage of Urdu and even ‘phaarsee’ words is acceptable or what kind of words are to be left in English (and even in English script) only etc. Entire magazine has very badly structured sentences & phrases and that clearly shows negligence on subediting part. There are no guidelines followed for the usage of numerals in the magazine. There is no consistency in usage and spellings of words in entire magazine.

I cannot understand if in any English language magazine cannot afford any spelling and proofing errors (though we have software & spellcheckers to help) to have, then why the same seriousness & concern is not applicable on Hindi language magazines? Why it is assumed that readers won’t mind if they find lots of spelling errors in body text, in captions, in headlines or even on the main cover? There are lots of words used throughout the magazine which are carrying wrong vowels and few vowels are absolutely (conveniently) ignored in the Hindi edition of Filmfare.

Because of substandard quality of translation, entire magazine is full of badly structured sentences which you will never find in any other (original) Hindi publication. Many words are kept in as they used in English without even thinking that they are meaningless here in this magazine. What worst could have done than that main copy in subscription advertisement of its own, has a wrong usage of language! Apart from that, in entire magazine you can see lots unnecessary and wrong usage of punctuations.

Sourcing of articles/stories is understood that Filmfare English has huge bank and that can support its Hindi version as well, still selection of stories could have done better and serious manner. Launch issue is put together so carelessly that one of the cover stories, that is mentioned there on the main cover, is not carried at all inside the issue…!


Same problem! When two magazines have different positioning, different TG, different socio-psycho levels… then how come they can have same design style sheet! Using same photographs is just fine, but other design elements??? Why they cannot be customized or redesigned accordingly, why color scheme is kept same…just because of negligence.

I understand the maintaining the brand personality but Designers have just finished their job through easy escape route that they simply copied style from English edition and have implemented here in the Hindi edition. They didn’t even think what works-what does not work or what looks good-what does not look good in Hindi magazines. If one line is center aligned in English edition, it is kept center aligned only in Hindi also even though it is looking ugly and unbalanced on the page. If one word is kept large or bold in English, without putting any brain, same treatment is given here in Hindi also, who cares if it is looking bad when it is printed. Designers need to understand that using these kinds of special effects if you can add some impact or pun in the simple text in English, here in Hindi same treatment can spoil the taste of it or some time even the meaning. They need to understand that dealing with English typefaces and Hindi typefaces are absolutely two different challenges. Same typography which you are doing with English text, you just cannot do with the Hindi text. You need to handle blank area very smartly which comes above & below every word written in Hindi.

Few of design elements could be tweaked accordingly as they look good if they used along with the English text, but they are not looking great with Hindi text.

Quality of photographs used in the magazine is good. Cutouts are fine, only a few places it looks that job is just finished otherwise it is ok. Layouts are also good. At least design has some consistency which, on the content part is missing.


Prepress work is good so is the final product. Only a few pages are not printed in natural colors and not showing real skin colors otherwise colors are printed well. Main cover of Launch issue is looking good though I don’t understand what are the lens flare like bubbles there on Sonakhi’s photograph. If it is not a mistake, it is not adding any value to the picture.


Hindi edition of Filmfare is launched as a monthly magazine as it is shown on its date line where month & year is mentioned though page numbers are kept around 150 that is almost same as one English edition carries every fortnight. This perfect bound Hindi edition is priced at Rs.40. This genre has lots of stuff to put in one issue, and I think the quantity of content carrying this Hindi issue is good enough for a monthly periodical.

It was really a good news that Filmfare is now available in Hindi, but the quality of product has disappointed badly. As a reader I expect the same degree of professional seriousness that its English edition possesses. If I take this magazine as a separate – stand alone magazine, I don’t think that it can get the same respect & association with its readers which Filmfare otherwise has been enjoying for around 60 years. Right now this magazine is good if you want to see lots of good photographs of your favorite stars, because the moment you start reading text part, it spoils your taste. Content sharing between language versions is fine, but editing, subbing, proofing are the critical areas where they need to work seriously if Mr. Pillai wants the same treatment from its readers for this version as well.

For more Indian magazine reviews: