I heard news of Hello magazine being launched in Pakistan somewhere in January this year. Being an avid follower of Pakistan’s entertainment industry and knowing what big of a deal it is, the news naturally got me excited.
Hello magazine, for starters is a an international entertainment magazine that is known for its extensive and in-depth coverage of celebrities and their lifestyles around the world. Hello is not your average cheap tabloid magazine but is known for its credibility and authenticity of news. Hello is published in over 100 countries worldwide and now the franchise is finally coming to Pakistan.
This post is not meant to educate you about what Hello! is but it’s a look at what Hello Pakistan’s been up to until now.
Hello was launched this week alongside Showcase 2012 being held in Karachi which is just another fashion week but with a different title. The Showcase has names of big guns of Pakistan’s fashion industry like Rizwan Beyg, Ayesha Tammy Haq attached to it. The lineup of showcase boasts of designers/brands like Feeha Jamshed, Sania Mastakiya, Fnk Asia, Amir Adnan, Faiza Sammee and a lot of other young fashion designers, the list i have to admit looks very promising and is quite a dynamic mix of established stalwarts and promising young blood so the decision of Hello to use Showcase as a launching pad is a good one.
Hello Pakistan is based in Islamabad and they had a press conference at Islamabad Press Club this weekend where they launched the magazine formally. The inaugural cover has Pakistan born Bollywood’s latest sensation Nargis Fakhri on its cover. Have a look at the cover:
And here’s another shot from the press launch:
Nargis Fakhri is an ex-model, so she obviously makes up for a very pretty cover. But the choice of an Indian hottie for the first cover is not the best one, it’s not really that big an issue but I think they should have opened with a Pakistani face on the cover, let’s keep the Bollywood ones for later. Anyways still it’s a gorgeous cover.
The most important aspect of any publication has to be its editorial team. CEO of Hello is Zahraa Saifullah while print and media journalist Wajahat S. Khan is the Consulting Editor, Chief Copy Writer is Rayan Khan, an Islamabad based entertainment journalist who has worked for Express Tribune.
I can’t really speak for Zahra Saifullah as I am completely unfamiliar with her name. Wajahat S. Khan is a journalist and analyst, graduate of Michigan University who has done print and media journalism for reputable media houses such as Dawn and Geo Group. He is also a Harvard Fellow. However, most (read all) of his work has been in political and social reporting. He also hosts a political talk-show by the name of Ikhtilaf on Aaj TV.
Considering his lack of experience in the field of entertainment journalism and editing, whether he can manage to edit a Life and Style magazine which is all entertainment and glamour, a far cry from what he has been doing all these years and does he understand and dynamics of entertainment industry is a question only time will answer.
The other name attached to the magazine is Rayan Khan, I don’t know the guy personally but I am familiar with his work, he is an Islamabad based Life and Style reporter who has or still is working for Express Tribune. I hate to sound so critical and negative but judging by his work, my verdict is that man might be very good at juggling with words and has a vocabulary and a writing style that is too complex for even an average English reader to understand but of all his articles that I have read so far, the impression I got was how distant he is from realities of the entertainment industry, his work is good but his horizon’s been always very narrow. And I hope I stand incorrect but until now all his work is only good enough for a minute elite population of Islamabad and never shown any grasp at realities and dynamics of local entertainment industry of Pakistan and whether his skills and work will cater to a wider and more dynamic readership of Pakistan remains to be seen but I hope I stand untrue on this. Only time will tell how good of a job he manages to do, although his experience in field of fashion writing and proficiency with words will come at handy.
But the biggest issue I find with Hello is its price tag. The issue covers with a reportedly asking price of 500 which obviously is too much to ask for. By asking for such a price I think the magazine is narrowing down its readership itself, it might be affordable for a niche’ elite clientele but the upper middle class and the middle class can’t and won’t agree to pay a price this much for an entertainment magazine. Also the price is way too much in comparison to other magazines in market. Xpoze’, the premium fashion mag of Pakistan is available at 200. Even prices of magazines I checked across the border are way less than this, price of Filmfare is 50 per issue while Vogue India is sold for 100 per issue and Hello Pakistan’s Indian counterpart Hello India is sold at 100 per issue so I think it’s quite unjustified for them to ask for such a price, it’s certainly not going to help their circulation.
However, the best news out of this for me is that the magazine is based in Islamabad, its going to be difficult to manage from Islamabad considering the hubs and capitals of entertainment, glamour, fashion and life & style are Karachi and Lahore but it would surely break the monotony an is definitely a huge development for city of Islamabad.