BENGALURU: The past six months have been a busy time for Nabil Khan. Despite a full- time career running his studio Nabil Khan Creates, the 27-year-old still makes it a point to spend an hour or two every day on his costume. In another part of town, 23-year-old Chinmaya Prabhu too has been spending the past few months handcrafting his Mega Charizad X (a character from Pokemon) costume for the upcoming Bengaluru Comic-Con, to be held on Nov 16 and 17. The number of ‘serious’ cosplayers may not be as big here as it is internationally, but many like Khan and Prabhu prove that this trend is changing and more youngsters are spending time, money and effort in handcrafting intricate costumes for the pop culture celebration event.
While Comic-Con may be just a two-day event, preparation for it begins months in advance. Khan’s Kel Thuzad (a character from the game World of Warcraft) costume has been six months in the making and involves an investment of Rs 70,000-Rs 80,000, with material that includes PVC pipes, EVA foam, vinyl sheets, copper pieces, brass pipes and copper wiring. The costume also involves the use of animatronics to emulate the effects of smoke and fire. While agreeing that it may just be easier to get a costume online, Khan – who has been cosplaying since 2014 and even won first place at Dubai Comic Con in 2016 – says the satisfaction that one gets from making something from scratch is a different feeling altogether. “It feeds my ego when someone appreciates my work and can’t figure out how I broke down the costume and perfected all elements,” he adds.
Agrees Rohit Kailashiya who completed making his costume in September this year. The full-time costume designer will cosplay as Treant Protector (a character from he game DOTA 2) this year. “I wore this costume earlier in September this year at the Shanghai DOTA 2 Cosplay World Championship and won. Now I want to wear it in India in front of my home crowd,” he says. The 35-kg costume took eight months to make, with three months dedicated to painting and five to carving the parts out of eva foam. “Not everyone has the time or interest to build costumes. I personally just really enjoy art and craft so all of my costumes till now have been self made,” he says.
Interestingly, family has been nothing but supportive when it comes to these hobbies. Prabhu’s mother often helps him paint his costume. And in eight-year-old Aradhya Ayaan’s case, his father Surya Shrestha is the one who spends months designing and perfecting the young lad’s costume. This year, the boy will dress up as a Lego character, a costume that Shrestha estimates will cost `5,000 to make. “Making a costume is expensive but buying it doesn’t give you the same feeling. Besides, this is our time to bond as father-and-son and that is what is precious to me,” he says.