Friday, October 8, 2010

Motherland: A New Mag from Over Ground Under Ground

(Motherland, the new magazine from W+K, New Delhi)


The phrase ‘to grab a bite’ connotes two things: a) you are busy and b) you are hungry.

The phrase, though not in parlance, ‘to grab a mag’ also means two things: a) you are busy and b) still you want to read.

For those who are tired of the dog eared, ravaged and never fully read paperbacks, here is a new magazine, which is hip, cool and celebrates the Indian sub-culture. And like the designed food for grabbing and biting, this magazine also helps you to grab and chew the designer/designed contents in the perfect Baconian fashion.

‘Motherland’ is the name of the magazine and it is published by one of the noted advertising firms, Wieden+Kennedy, New Delhi with V.Sunil and Annette Ekin as the creative and content editors respectively.



On the first glance the magazine gives you the impression of ‘Third Text’, a heavy duty theoretical journal edited by Rasheed Araeen from London. Motherland is no heavy duty stuff.

Motherland is all about teasers; a sort of mirror that distorts your figure. You hate it but still you want to look at it. And the more you look at your crazy reflection the more you derive fun out of it.

Reading Motherland makes you feel so. You see what you are not and what you want to be in there. It is exotic, attractive and thanks to some reason adorable.

The first issue heralds the idea of freedom. The silhouette of Gyarahmurty (Eleven Sculptures) by D.P.R.C, at one go, captures the thematic and also the title. You may see a Nargis there just behind Gandhiji. New age designers are intelligent and irreverent.


There are no sermons on freedom. Instead, in a tongue in cheek way it speaks of the behavior of the Indian middle class air traveler, who flouts all kinds of restrictions to uphold his ‘freedom’. He hates to wear seat belts and refuses to switch off mobile phones. And he has sharp elbows to edge everyone out. It should be the national sport of nudging, the author says.

Artist and researcher Ashok Sukumaran writes about surveillance systems. The transition of traditional ‘lala’s’ mirror into the state’s and voyeurs’ invisible eyes. From Ashok’s article I come to a conclusion that surveillance cameras are like Police in Bollywood movies; as Tracy Chapman sings, ‘always comes late, if they don’t at all.’ These cameras don’t prevent a calamity but it helps to solve the mystery ‘who done it?’

There is Osho, there is Bharat Sikka’s photographs. There is a beautiful feature on Tibetan exiles in India. There is Sunil Gupta’s take on the status of Gays in Delhi post Sector 377. There is a letter from jail. All together it will move you and shake you.


Motherland also tells us how a promotional feature could be presented as a scholarly take on women’s freedom. Scooty’s success in small towns, the feature eventually comes before us as the TVS Company sponsored article.

Motherland team tells us how a magazine should choose advertisements. No advertisement looks like an advertisement. They look like the core content of the magazine. May be this is a way of collapsing the editorial content and advertisement into one, leaving the reader to judge which one is better.

Art magazine editors could learn a lot from this magazine, especially in the case of choosing and presenting advertisements.

I wish all success to Motherland.

1 comment:

MASI said...

I dig such content and magazines. For a person who has studied Publishing for 5 years I would love to collaborate with these new age magazine editors. Great review too!