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A magazine in a CD-ROM

By K. Satyamurty

BANGALORE, OCT. 7. If you are tired of magazines in print and sceptical of those on the Internet, here is a virtual alternative for you.

The `Virtual Mahazine' comes in a CD-ROM and packs in as much reading material and visuals as any other printed magazine. The added appeal is that it has many video clippings and features poets and authors reading out excerpts from their latest books.

Mr. Krishnan Viswanathan, director, Virtual Media Infotech, New Delhi, which has brought out the Mahazine, gave to The Hindu here a preview of the first issue now launched nationwide. Apart from bookstores and news stands in 73 cities, toy stores and music shops will also stock issues. A special annual subscription price is being offered and some PC dealers are even offering it as a gift.

The contents of the first issue are promising. There are sections on movies, poetry, contemperory writing, music, health and fitness, travel and leisure and special segments for women and children.

The `Chit Chat' section features a live interview with the music composer, A.R. Rehman, with video clippings of his songs. He talks about his award-winning numbers, again with clippings. Unlike on TV, you have the option of skipping the video clippings if you want to. The promising young Carnatic vocalist, P. Unnnikrishnan, will be featured in the next issue.

The `Whackiest Entertainers' of the silver screen are brought alive in shots from their movies. Even Rajnikant figures, with dialogue delivered in his inimitable fashion. The `Five Top Vamps of Bollywood' will be carried in the second issue.

Heroes, villains, screen mothers and character artistes may be featured in forthcoming issues. There are also trailers of forthcoming movies.

Serious stuff is also available like Javed Akhtar (whose dialogues in films of the Seventies are still remembered) reading out his latest collection of Urdu poems. The `Author of the Month' is the Indo-Anglian writer, Ms. Jaishree Mishra, who reads out excerpts from her novel `Ancient Promises'.

The latest from fashion designers are presented with visuals specially created for the Mahazine. The `Beauty Consultant' session covers tips on caring for the hair, face, eyes and lips. The cosmetics giant Revlon provides an online try- out - or a ``virtual sampling'' if you prefer - of the latest in lipsticks and nail enamels. None other than the supermodel, Cindy Crawford, tries out the shades you want to buy in actual colour. You have the freedom to compare, contrast and choose.

The music session in the first issue features the ever-green Santana along with video previews of the latest ghazal album `Kaash' from Hariharan. A mix of classical, light, film and Western music is planned for future issues, with reviews and previews.

The food section has Roopa Gulati presenting her favourite recipes, which can be downloaded. The health and nutrition channel includes a much-needed guide to good wines, explaining what kind of wine goes with which food and if a particular wine should be chilled or served at room temperature.

There is also a health and fitness section.

For the homemaker, there is information about TVs and home appliances of leading brands, with digital brochures and virtual demonstrations. The `Best Cars You Can Buy' provides a virtual test drive of the latest cars available in the country and gives detailed information on each. There is also a section on motorcycles.

What the Mahazine will not have is politics and current affairs, because there are enough journals devoted to these topics, Mr. Viswanathan said. ``We want to give something for everybody in the family to view and enjoy.''

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