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Chandamama, 60, will not retire

books Updated: Apr 17, 2008 12:40 IST
Megha Shah
Megha Shah
Hindustan Times
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In the early ’70s, an eight-year-old boy in Patna would wait anxiously for the local newspaper vendor to dispatch a packet every month. After all these years and success in India’s biggest dream factory, Bollywood, he still remembers the leap of heart at getting his copy of

Chandamama

.

Shekhar Suman is one of the millions who has grown up with the comic book, which on Thursday celebrates 60 engrossedly read years with the launch of its anniversary book.

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan will launch it at JW Marriott, Juhu.

At retirement age, the once-fading title is poised to reinvent itself with an upgraded Web presence featuring interactive games and puzzles, downloadable wallpapers for cellphones and programmes on Worldspace radio.

"It is essential to go where the market has gone," said L Subramanyan, CEO of Chandamama. He believes this will not go against the time-honoured image of Chandamama, but will help regain its youth appeal.

But Suman prefers the printed word. "I found the Vikram and Betaal stories most fascinating. Young people have moved away from reading. For mental growth, you need to read," the actor said.

As a book, Chandamama has seen a revival too, going up to four lakh readers from 1.3 lakh in six months. To toast it, a 96-page comic book will hit the stands every four months from April 21.