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Fans get nostalgic about Chandamama after illustrator’s death
Waiting for the monthly edition of Chandamama with the daily newspaper or from a door-to-door book vendor is a fond memory for many locals.
The news, on September 29, of the death of one of its illustrators, KC Shivashankaran, was a shock to many Running in Tamil Nadu as Ambulimama, the first edition came out on July 1947 and was published in 13 languages.
One of its most well-known segments was the Vikram-Betal, a never-ending story that was illustrated by Shivashankaran. While living in Hyderabad with his family, Chandamama served as the perfect way to learn Telugu for Vinod Reddy.
“We spoke Telugu at home but my reading comprehension was still slow. So I would read the magazine every month. The magazine had a set structure of stories and served as an introduction to history for many with their light but informative pieces,” he said.
The magazine was also known for its unique illustrations, as it featured artists like MTV Acharya, T Veera Raghavan and Kesava Rao. It’s writing style was also known to be in a ‘storytelling’ format, which made it more appealing to young readers.
For Bhavani Shivakumar, the magazine comes with fond memories of anticipating the newest edition every month.
“Sometimes, it would carry series. We would wait in anticipation for the next edition,” she said. In 2007, the magazine was bought by a Mumbai-based software service provider, Geodesic. While they hoped to shift the magazine to the virtual space, the company was forced to liquidate its funds and the current status of the magazine is unknown. This, however, might not be a bad thing, says Shivakumar.
“The art style, though great for its time, will not hold up to modern standards. Children these days have access to better art on the Internet, and unless there is a complete change, I don’t think it will hold up. But as a gem from the past, it is a nostalgic, sweet memory that we would like our children to know Shivashankaran about,” she said.