Art has its various forms as known to all of us. India is very well known for its various artforms and vast culture. Our nation has one of the largest collections of architecture, sculpture, paintings, performing arts, applied arts and leisure art too. Colours, designs, patterns and drama have always been a part of Indian soul. With the never ending list of artworks and artforms India proudly showcases, the youth here are adding another feather to the crown with the unimaginably growing cosplay culture. The art of cosplay has never been an acclaimed sector in India for years, but the trend seems to be changing. The growing community of cosplayers in our nation are taking their hobby to another level and living their passion. Keeping aside the monetary factor, which is huge by the way, the taxing process designing, sourcing and creating a costume can take months and involves tremendous dedication. Are you wondering why they are putting in so much effort? You should never question an artist about the reason behind creating his artwork. It simply is food for their soul! With the growing popularity and respect towards this artform, many talented cosplayers in India are showcasing their skills at various fests like Comic Con and many others. Indian Championship of Cosplay 2020 winner Sameer Bundela says, “Due to the popularity of comic books, movies and games, this subculture is only going to grow.” Living a larger than life character is a dream of many, but these artists are truly living that. The Indian minds are opening up to this newly found artform and the cosplay culture has found a new home here. Bundela has been cosplaying for close to 10 years now and it’s been a long and rewarding journey for him. The cosplay culture has thrown light on the many possibilities coming out of this art. Indian Championship of Cosplay winner Shine Saha is another cosplayer who is a full-time engineer and only cosplays part-time, unlike Bundela who is planning to pursue this as a full-time job. “Companies have started to recognise the potential of cosplay as a crowd engagement and PR opportunity and it benefits both parties. Due to all this, it has become viable for people like me to pursue this passion as a full-time job,” Bundela adds. Indian cosplayers have begun making a mark in the international scene. Though Bundela and Saha think that cosplay is still at a nascent stage in our country, the rate has definitely been a rapid one lately. “The community is pretty well knit and people are becoming more aware about ways to grow together. The biggest change has been the growing acceptance among the general crowd regarding cosplay as an art form and as a professional domain as well,” adds Saha. The competition in cosplay has also become very intense and people are taking it very seriously. With every passing year, the way of creating cosplay costumes has changed. The artists aren’t restricted to one medium, cloth but are trying out other materials like foam, clay, wood, you take a material name and it’s there in somebody’s suit. Talking about the way Indians look at this culture, Another winner from the Indian Championship of Cosplay, Medha Srivastava said, “I genuinely believe that India is very aesthetically advanced. We have the capability to work hard and put out our skills. But the only things lacking are the resources and knowledge about cosplay.” Srivastava is a professional illustrator and game artist with a degree in animation and film making. Her love for games and concept art made cosplay a natural attraction for her. There are numerous events that happen in India which are celebrating the art of cosplay from gaming to anime. With the increasing amount of cosplays in India, gamers, movie buffs are no longer restricted to sit behind the desktop, console or television. They now dress up as their favourite characters and show off their love for games and movies. Though, we have reached international platforms and grabbed awards for India, Srivastava feels that with time, India would definitely be one of the best in cosplay. With collective efforts from the cosplay community, India will surely see a rise in this sector of art. Experienced cosplayers like Bundela take workshops to make aspiring cosplayers aware of the materials, techniques used to create the costume. And definitely to show them how amazing it feels to get into the role of your favourite character. Recently some really brilliant cosplays from India have garnered a lot of attention internationally which has put India on the cosplay map. “I’m happy that I’ve gotten to be a part of this journey from the very beginning. And would continue to play my part in promoting Indian cosplay worldwide in whatever way I can,” concludes Bundela. The cosplays are a treat to watch and the cosplay community based in India is only upping the game. We are not very far from watching India stand proud for this very artsy, innovative and dedicated culture, cosplay!