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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BHEL PURI - THE STORY



BHEL PURI is a Hyderabad based youth magazine which was launched in June 2010 and has already got eyebrows turning with its fresh and youthful feel. With target audience in the age group 13-30, it promises to get the youth back to magazines and books. BHEL PURI, as the name suggests, is a concoction of various topics and issues which would appeal to the young and the young at heart.

The idea of BHEL PURI was transpired by a bunch of engineering students while still in college. Nishanth Sukhvasi, the brain behind BHEL PURI, got together with some of his juniors and discussed at length on what was missing in Indian magazines today and the apathetic response of the youth towards them. But what really provoked them to take the “drastic” measure of coming out with their own magazine? Dinesh Yegireddi, part of the creative team and an intrinsic part of BHEL PURI’s core points out, “the amount of importance given to insipid gossip, page 3 and other masala news in today’s print media is unconscionable and is in many ways responsible for making today’s youth dim and uninformed”. He adds, “And in those sparse cases of relevant news, the content is hardly ever adequate. At BP (short for BHEL PURI), content is king. If something deserves to go on print, it will go on print. If it is a topic that interests the reader, they can be assured that they would get adequate, well researched information which is also fun to read”.

The first issue was out in the month of June amidst mixed reactions. People seemed to find the look of the magazine very impressive and interesting for first timers. Funky cartoons, the lingo used and the attempt to make the magazine “cool” were very evident. On the down side, there was criticism on issues like editing, typos and use of fonts. The suggestions and criticisms were taken into account and out came a more refined, August Independence day issue. They retained the youthful and colourful look of the magazine with some really awesome pictures, like in the first issue. The inclusion of interviews of experts and celebrities like Shruti Hassan were some notable changes. The articles are interesting, informative and in quite some detail as prescribed by the BHEL PURI ideology. That being said, standards will have to rise and quality will have to be maintained for as the number of issues published increases, the tolerance towards mediocrity will decrease.

Digressing from BP, the magazine to its parent company, what stands out about this "company" is that, they were very particular about handling the procedures and legalities themselves, to get educated and keep bribery away. “This is just another step”, as Sri Kalyan Moravineni (Head of marketing & operations) puts it, “in the direction of doing things right and in the true spirit of entrepreneurship”. These are not your regular entrepreneurs making a magazine. They are also a bunch of idealists who want to set a right example. In today’s world of short cuts, fast food and SMS language, this sure is a welcome change. There is a ray of hope in the clouds of darkness.

Now that BHEL PURI is a full fledged magazine having released two issues, what are the problems they face? Anantha Krishna, member of the creative team, points out, “Lack of good quality writers is one of the major issues that we face. As we establish ourselves, things might look up but today, yes it is a problem”.

With today’s generation stuck in cyberspace and obsessed with social networking, isn’t getting them back to magazines going to be an arduous task? They don’t seem to think so.
Anantha says, “It wouldn’t be fair to say that today’s youth is stuck in cyberspace since you see a lot of people still reading books. Many popular novels like Harry Potter and the Twilight series have E-Books available for free online but people don’t mind queuing up in bookstores to get their hands on a copy of it. The feel of a book or magazine is totally different and no E-Book can ever replace that”. 

BP sure has a bunch of optimistic fellas running the show. However, I would view the future with a bit more trepidation. This fear is not based on survey or statistics but the knowledge that I haven’t bought a single magazine in a long long time. But then, there hasn’t been anything like this either. Let’s see if BP can change the trend.

India has a huge print media audience and with literacy rate growing at 2.5%*, the number is going to increase. But unlike the West, we don’t have a very vibrant market for youth centred magazines. I asked Kalyan the reason for this.
“There isn’t much of a magazine culture in India for the youth. The quality of youth centric magazines in the West and here are poles apart”. Anantha adds, “The lifestyle of students in India is very different from the ones abroad. By class 8 you are expected to choose your career path and by class 11, studying 10-12 hours a day are the norm. Most of the friends I know, me included, started reading after we got into college. When you don’t have a market, you can’t expect to have high quality magazines”.
 I couldn’t agree more. After knowing the facts and markets being against them, the guys at BP still decided to go ahead with what they believed in and that is commendable. Guess “brave” could go down as another adjective to our already long list.

Okay! We have heard a bunch of goodie goodie guys with high morals and ideals who want to dish out interesting, well researched, adequate and quality information to the misguided youth of our country. But with its glossy pictures on high quality paper how much is it going to cost us?  Each issue costs a meagre Rs 20. This is apparently with a view to cater to every section of the society irrespective of the socio-economic background. So they are not just idealists but also philanthropists in their own way. But it’s always a lot easier to follow your ideals when you are a small organization with a small workforce. Plus, would the low prices of magazines result in higher sales? Only time will tell.

Hyderabad based youth magazine called BHEL PURI? Doesn’t Biryani or Haleem sound more Hyderabadi? “NO”, quips Dinesh. “We do not want to restrict it to just Hyderabad. There are plans of catering to a larger audience in the future”. More BHEL PURI? Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Going by the trend in the current issues, most of the articles are generic and only a few of them are Hyderabad specific, so there is a definite plan in order.

BP wants to be more than just a magazine. It wants to be a platform that would enable budding writers, designers, editors, photographers, etc to gain some real world experience in a field which is not yet considered mainstream in the Indian society today. If you think you have got the talent and are on the lookout for a right medium for your skills, BHEL PURI seems like an ideal choice. BP, as a company policy, encourages young talent and presents your work to a larger audience.  If you think you have what it takes to make it big, mail your resumes to careers@thetrinity8.com

For more information on BHEL PURI, log on to www.bhelpurionline.com. The E-Magazine would be launched in the first week of September, 2010 so you could find out firsthand what the hype is all about. Follow BHEL PURI on twitter under the handle bhel_puri and BHEL PURI on Facebook.

* Source : National youth readership survey, India


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice, well-framed , good reporting style in sense of the old print media style. makes you want to go back to reading news in the papers again instead of from the internet.sounds professional of course.

Ashish Kalsi said...

Thank you so much.

Nikhil said...

How do I subscribe or where do I purchase this mag?

Dinesh Yegireddi said...

Hello Nikhil,

The magazine is available at Walden and Crossword. You can also find the magazine at Sazio, Hitech City.

You can keep in touch with us on our FB Page, bhel_puri.

Regards,
Dinesh Yegireddi

ABI said...

u wer supposed 2 get me a copy of bhelpuri remember??? and btw is ur article published init yet?? and wch month issue isit??

Ashish Kalsi said...

@Abi-- I have absolutely no idea either....u will be the first to know if something happens