The end of the year means different things for different people. Christmas, winter, wedding season perhaps, but for India’s growing community of cosplayers, it signals the beginning of Convention season. The character designs that have been painstakingly conceptualised over the last six months are slowly coming to life amidst a tornado of foam, glue and frustrated tears; all so that these masterpieces can have their moment of glory out in the big wide world of Comic Con, where they were born to be.
The art of cosplay is one that has been underestimated in India for years, it’s always been seen as a thoroughly nerdy past-time, but luckily for us...nerdy is so in right now. For the uninitiated, cosplay is a portmanteau of the phrase costume play, and usually describes the process of replicating and embodying your favourite fictional characters. Though from the outside people see it as an elaborate game of dress-up, crafting the perfect cosplay is a huge undertaking, not one for the faint of heart. If you’ve ever attempted to throw together a last minute Halloween costume, you’ll know that getting the look you’re going for isn’t all that simple.
Though considered a hobby by most, it’s anything but relaxing. Aside from the expenditure on materials, the arduous process designing, sourcing and ultimately building a cosplay can take months and involves an unbelievable amount of dedication and skill. ‘But then why do you do it?’ I hear you ask. Well simply, because it’s really, REALLY fun. Aside from the incredible payoff of having a perfect replication of your character, the ability to disappear - even temporarily - inside the world of fantasy that is so personal to you is an incomparable feeling. If that wasn’t enough, there is a sense of community among cosplayers that’s hard to find elsewhere, there are moments when people come up and tell you how much they love your character or how much that story means to them and that makes everything worth it.
There are hundreds of talented cosplayers in India today, all of whom work themselves to the bone in pursuit of perfection. Though each and every one has individual skills that set them apart it would take far longer than we have to name them all. So here, we celebrate seven of the best, selected by the Indian Cosplay Community, that you should definitely keep an eye out for. Happy Con Season!
Though she is currently cosplaying at a professional level, Akanksha still considers herself a gamer first, cosplayer second. Since 2012 she’s been taking her designs out to conventions across the country. Her education from NIFT made her an expert seamstress and she whips up in a matter of hours, things that would take other people weeks. She also takes orders, so for those of you who can’t tell the difference between a sewing machine and toaster, she’s the one to call.
II. Aorin Shariyari
One of the oldest hands in the game, Aorin has been dominating the Indian cosplay scene since 2011 and over the years has hundreds of projects to her name. Gaming was where she first developed her love for this world of colour and fantasy and is today, one of the lucky few to have made a career out of her passion.
III. Sameer Bundela
A photographer by profession, you can usually find Sameer darting around the convention floor taking pictures of as many cosplayers as he can find. But when he steps out from behind the camera his hidden talent comes to life. The holder of multiple cosplay awards, he has an eye for detail and he’s one of the best in the biz today. Though sometimes this talent can be distinctly annoying, especially when a week before a convention he has been known to say ‘It’s terrible, I’ll never finish’...and then go on to win a trip to Chicago.
A proper Papa Bear of cosplay, Surya is the go-to guy for any prop work that exceeds your capabilities. He works in all mediums from foam to wood and is a dab hand with electrical work too. He co-founded Scythe’s Skunkworks, one of the country’s best known professional propmakers and will take on any and all new challenges - the bigger the better.
Most cosplayers thank their lucky stars that there’s a Tanya in town. When she noticed a gap in the market she set up a facility to rent wigs of all shapes and sizes. In the process she became quite the wig fairy herself and can help you add that extra edge to your cosplay with her styling skills.
VI. Vijay Sinha
A favourite of cosplayers around the country and senpai to many. Though he prefers not to make his costumes at home, he can pull them off better than anyone. His MC abilities are the stuff of legend and he’s always in high demand for events.
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