Some 500 cosplayers converged at the fifth Mumbai Film and Comics Convention. A peek into a thriving comic subculture.
A 21-year-old engineering student from Pune wishes she lived in a parallel universe where she could shape-shift. A 24-year-old chartered accountant secretly wants to take over the world with superpowers. A 28-year-old devoted Skyrim player believes his online character is an alter ego. And a 16-year-old student who swears by the DC Universe of Batman.
On a good day, you might hunt for them (and their alter egos) in the deep recesses of the internet but the real world was lucky last week, they all (40,000 of them reportedly) turned out to participate and do some plain showing off at the fifth Mumbai Film and Comics Convention (MFCC) held last week.
Cosplay, a portmanteau of the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’, is the ultimate sign of fandom. It originated in the United States and has its roots in Western science-fiction and fantasy conventions. Creating and donning elaborate costumes celebrating action heroes, comic characters and video game icons has grown from a geeky niche to a mainstream hobby. Some famous cosplayers have even managed to make a professional career out of this hobby.
In India, there's a budding community of cosplayers, a Facebook group called ‘Indian Cosplay Community’ has around 1,500 members. These cosplayers take pride in making their entire costume from scratch. Planning and constructing the often extravagant costumes can take months.
Comic Con India, which now holds annual conventions in four cities every year, was launched in Delhi in 2011.