Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Aniston’

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Filmfare (

Issue reviewed: Jan. 5, 2011

  • Published in Mumbai, India, by Worldwide Media Ltd.
  • Circulation: 142,000; Readership: 1.9 million
  • 148 pages, perfect bound


  • mostly students
  • 42% have an annual HHI of more than $120,000 Rupees (equivalent to about $2,700)
  • 50% ages 20 to 34
  • 63% male


Heard of Bollywood? It’s as dear to the Indian pop culture as Hollywood is to us (or, as Hollywood thinks it is to us anyway!). The editorial content in Filmfare is much like a gossip mag in America: very casual in tone, no deep reads, short snippets. It’s light on evidence, heavy on gossip. Filmfare also spends many, many pages on fashion and movie reviews. And — given my limited knowledge of Indian culture — I was surprised at how racy the whole magazine is. There’s a whole lot of naked male torsos and revealing dresses. Whoa!


The design is pretty good. Filmfare, of course, relies heavily on the photography captured by its paparazzi, as well as from professional photo shoots of the stars. The point is that the pages are made up of photos of beautiful people, and it’s generally hard to make a page ugly when you have stunningly good-looking people on the page. In a few spots, the design choices were questionable to me — usually in the places that overused green backgrounds. But on the whole, it’s a very attractive magazine, with good use of icons, colors, typography and photography. The features, in particular, were well-designed.

What’s Best

  • Supershort copy: Filmfare is one of those magazines you can read twice; you can flip through it once and read just the short chunks of copy, then you can come back later and spend almost as much time only reading the longer pieces. The reader can get a ton of information about hundreds of celebrities in a short period of time — perfect for students’ short attention spans!
  • Five things you must know about: This department has five short pieces of info about a certain star. In this issue, it was Kulraj Randhawa and Utsav Gandhi. What it is lacking is quotes from said stars. It should be more substantial than it is, but it is still irresistible to read all five items.
  • Dramatics: As with American celebrities, the Bollywood counterparts are surrounded by drama. Who’s leaving who, who’s hooking up, who just got an amazing new role. Filmfare capitalizes on this, of course, but especially so in the headlines. For instance, this is the headline for an article about Hrithik Roshan: “I want my story to be the greatest ever.” (Narcissistic much?) The quote-as-title theme continues for other features, including “The term star kid gives me allergies” and “I am a social outcast.” I don’t know any of these stars, but I sure felt like I had to read these articles to find out about the kid-actor allergy and what makes Ronit Roy an outcast.

What’s Worst

  • Body type: The body copy was legible throughout, but the designers have some serious spacing issues. Sometimes they go rag right, sometimes justified — even in the same article! The breaks are all over the place, spacing is often off, and the magazine flip-flops between two returns separating paragraphs and a return and an indent. Nitpickers like me cannot take this type of inconsistency, especially when it’s such an easy fix.
  • Journalistic merit: It’s pretty common with celeb mags for gossip to rule and facts to be secondary, but I hate it regardless. A real story has a source or a quote or attribution of some sort. I’m not a fan of speculation journalism.

Overall Opinion

Filmfare was a great study in Bollywood culture. One of my favorite things on my trip to India was the fashion, and Filmfare lives and breathes current fashion. Another thing I loved was listening to my brother-in-law’s cousins talking about Bollywood stars — and I didn’t have a clue! So to read about some of the stars was exciting. There is NO crossover (that I can tell) of Hollywood and Bollywood, so Indians don’t know Jennifer Aniston any more than we know Shruti Haasan. Personally, going through a magazine packed with wildly famous people that I’ve never seen before is a really great (and different) experience. For the good photography and short copy, but a few flaws here and there, I give Filmfare a B.

I invite your comments! Check out the magazine or its website and tell me what you think of it.

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review

Ball point pen (Biro) writing

Image via Wikipedia

I know one way to guarantee failure in writing a good story: It’s by not writing it.

Writers and would-be writers often say “I can’t write,” or “I don’t have anything good to say,” or “My grammar sucks.”

Writing is not about great grammar. Often, it’s not about a great event. It’s about telling it, and telling it in your own voice.

If you’re on the fence about your own writing, try the following tips. You don’t have to show your work to anyone; you just have to practice. No pressure — just do it!

Pick a topic. Quit thinking you’re going to write the Great American Novel right out of the gate. You’re not. To write something amazing takes time, skill and practice. For now, write a memory about your grandmother, or think of the world’s most perfect food, or pretend you’re on a date with Jennifer Aniston. Or take one of the following statements and use it as your opening sentence, then just see where it takes you:

  • The room was dark, except for the ray of light creeping through the window from the solitary street lamp.
  • Frank was a quiet man, giving in to outbursts of rage and fury only when he felt a rather important matter was out of his control.
  • Bob was dead, thanks to a series of events that really no one could have foreseen.

(I have tons of these. I make them up all the time for my community writing class. If you want more, tell me. I will keep you busy!)

Plan a time. Once you’ve chosen a topic, make yourself write for 30 minutes, or another time that feels comfortable to you. Or if you’d rather, choose a page count (1 typed page, or 2 handwritten pages, or one whole notebook). Stick to that goal.

Think about the five senses. I heard this a long, long time ago, and it’s a really easy way to make sure you’re adding color and flavor to your piece. The point is to make the reader feel like he or she is there. In case you’ve forgotten them, they are:

  • smell
  • taste
  • touch
  • sight
  • sound

If you’re walking down the street in your story, do you smell hot dogs? Do you see gum stuck on the sidewalk? Do you hear horns honking?

Explain the action. Rather than, “I was arrested and put in jail,” say “The cops threw me against the car, handcuffed me, made me cry. I spent the night in a cold cell, peeing in a steel toilet I shared with Bertha.”

Wrap it up the way you want to. If you’re just practicing and no one’s going to read it, it’s OK if you want to kill off the main character or leave a few ideas hanging or create a musical scene that your friends would make fun of. It’s your story. You can’t find your own voice if you’re going to edit yourself before you get your ideas on paper.

Read it! You’ll love your awesomeness. Or you’ll realize you could do better and you’ll try something different next time. Or you’ll revisit it many months later and think, “Damn, I’m good.”

Everyone has a great voice, and everyone’s voice should be heard. Be yourself in your writing. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. And you’ll discover things about yourself you had no idea existed.

Do you have a process for writing you’d like to share? What have you learned about yourself through writing?

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review