Indian cosplayers and their quarantine days

The horrifying coronavirus pandemic has managed to bring to halt almost every event, major or minor. With personal gatherings like weddings, engagements, house parties taking a backseat, citizens are left with no choice but to stay at home. Every individual is utilising this time to generate new hobbies, create art, virtually meet the old gang or surf social media endlessly. Many are working from home and hence occupied. But, there are certain professions which cannot manage to work from home as it is not feasible. The cosplay community is one amongst those.
Left to right: Sameer Bundela, Medha Srivastava, Gaurav Thakur and Shine Saha
As we all know, cosplay is a display art. It requires an audience, a stage and a performance. Events are very important for cosplayers since that is mostly their source of income from cosplay. While talking to AnimationXpress, few cosplayers expressed their grief over the sudden lockdown and how it is affecting their career. “Two of my major events got postponed including the trophy ceremony after winning Fan Favorite in Comic Con 2020,” said Medha Srivastava. These cosplayers are also facing a major shortage of materials as every market is shut and online ordering is risky. Sameer Bundela, who is stuck in the US, was there for a cosplay competition when India closed its borders for international flights. “I am stuck here for the past three weeks. There are ideas and preparation time, but acquiring raw materials is a task. I have extra material in my workshop in India, but not here.” There are some events for which people had prepared for months but now all that effort has gone to waste. Also, many professional cosplayers rely on these events to support themselves, and hence sources of income have been affected.
Engine Blade, Noctis from Final Fantasy
Shine Saha mentioned, “Due to the pandemic, hiring of cosplayers and enquiries for props or costumes has been affected adversely. But there are hints of a few events happening online in the near future. If at all they happen,  they’ll be the only active avenues for cosplaying.” Though there are some drawbacks, these artists are not wasting their time and talent. With social media usage graphs hitting the skies during this quarantine time, many cosplayers are utilising the opportunity to reach out to their fans through posts, live chats and tutorials. Srivastava mentioned, “Because of social distancing and complete lockdown, there have been some serious losses. But at the same time a lot of us are utilising this time to complete our incomplete costumes or projects with whatever resources we have at home. Some international cosplayers are even utilising this time to make masks for people in need which is a great deed. ” Gaurav Thakur who is an art director for visuals was prepared for the adversity due to past experiences and tries working on a single costume at a time. “I have my stuff with me. It’s more than seven years now, I am stitching my own cosplay and presenting. I always try to recycle first and then look for resources if need be,” added he. Saha is busy creating the sword  (Engine Blade, Noctis from Final Fantasy) shown above which has undergone a lot of experimentation. “That prop is awaiting a paint job, which will again be done once the paints are available,” Saha said. Bundela added, “I am trying to be as productive as I can. I have been interviewing and talking to a lot of cosplayers here in America, to gain more knowledge and insight on how to improve my work.” He is working on templates for a new cosplay from a game called Doom Eternal. Thakur has been working on a Captain America Infinity War Costume since the start of 2020. “I didn’t get time on a daily basis to spend on costumes and so some costumes took me six to seven months. But now, alongwith Captain America suite, I am successfully making the Wakanda Shield.” Srivastava is trying out new makeup transformations including Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Wonder Woman and Rapunzel. “The whole idea of transforming into a different personality with just the power of makeup has always excited me. I am trying to transform into characters everyday which might fit into the resources I have at the moment like wigs, lenses , costumes to name a few.”
Srivastava as Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Rihanna
Being from Mumbai and understanding the lack of space when every family member is at home, she is avoiding making elaborate costumes. And she thinks that right now apart from work, we all need to be aware about the cleanliness in our surroundings. And we can’t agree more.
Srivastava as Rapunzel and Wonder Woman
So people, how are you utilising this quarantine period? These talent heads have inspired us enough. Let’s make the best out of this time we have in our (washed) hands right now. But don’t forget, whatever you do, however creative you get, stay indoors and stay safe!
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