Chandamama, a fast friend of 90s' kids, dying slow death
With software company Geodesic Ltd under IT and ED scanner over siphoning of funds, its subsidiary, the famed Chandamama, a Chennai-based magazine, has also fallen from grace. Magazines are now bundled up in 100 gunny bags in the company's 10,000sqft Santacruz office. Chandamama, after its 1947 launch, gained a foothold and within fifty years, almost every household was glued to Vikram-Vetal and their tales.
Geodesic Ltd had bought Chandamama in 2007 and digitized the magazine, taking help from professor Raj Reddy of Carnegie Mellon University. A new design was also given by IIT Bombay professor G V Sreekumar, and the magazine was launched again by none other than actor Amitabh Bachchan. Eventually, international production firms expressed interest, but lack of promoters threw the project out of the window.
Finally in 2013, the magazine ceased to exist. People opined its digitization couldn't really click with them, which led to its downfall. Its chances of revival also became thin when in 2014, Geodesic's assets were seized after they failed to pay Rs. 1,000cr to 15 of its Foreign Currency Convertible Bond holders. Eventually, the three company directors were arrested.
They were accused of laundering Rs. 812cr through multiple shell companies in India and abroad. Further investigation revealed that they had routed the money to six overseas shell companies in Bermuda and British Virgin Islands between 2008 and 2013 in the form of investment funds. These shell companies were apparently collecting agents for software sales, which were found to be bogus.
Meanwhile, L Suburamanyan, Chandamama ex-CEO, rued the development, saying, "The brand should have been preserved and managed much better." Chandamama was founded by B Nagi Reddy and Chakrapani, and was published in Telugu and Tamil initially. Later it started getting published in 13 languages.