Young. Creative. Hardworking. Passionate. All these words describe the young cosplayer, Mandar Mhaskar, who recently won the ticket to Beijing Comic Con at the Mumbai Film and Comic Convention 2015. He not only bagged the first prize but also proved that it’s the dedication and the amount of energy you put into cosplaying which matters wherein experience plays a small role.
The quote ‘Being a creative is not a hobby, but a way of life’ defines Mandar Mhaskar whose passion towards drawing made him pursue CG animation and from there on his cosplay journey started. TheGraphicSlate got in touch with this budding artist to know more about his exciting cosplay world.
Speaking about why he chose to enter this field, Mandar dramatically says, “I Cosplay for fun. Cosplaying is my preferred method of being social. It has been three years since I’ve been cosplaying and I will not stop cosplaying, till my last breath!”
Talking about his favourite character, he said, “Well being into animation field, I love each and every character (might be a game character, fantasy or an animated character). And acting as one is fun. Cosplay gives you the freedom to act as a vivid character.” Not just that, pursuing animation has helped him a lot when it comes to cosplaying.
Cosplay sure sounds fun as one can live in the shoes of their favourite character for that particular time but coming up with the costume can become a herculean task especially if one is studying. But for Mandar striking a balance between cosplay and studies isn’t an issue. He says, “I don’t know how I manage to strike a balance between the both but for the love towards cosplay, I take a break from studies!” He cheekily adds, “I’ve been cosplaying for three years now and all my costumes were made a week or two before the convention! *PANIC*”
During the initial stages of his cosplay journey, apart from Mandar’s mother and friends who used to be appreciative of his work, his other family member weren’t supportive enough. But things took an upward turn after he won the Cosplay competition and got the ticket to Beijing.
Speaking about what all hardships and difficult choices a cosplayer goes through before his final costume, Mandar explains, “The most difficult task for me as a cosplayer is to choose the character! And this goes on not just for me but for each cosplayer out there. Once the character is finalised, comes ‘budget’ and later we go for the measurements, structure and supplies that we need for our costume. Being in India, it becomes challenging to find the right kind of supplies for our costumes.” He further adds, “Creating a costume is a mammoth task but the biggest challenge I have encountered till date being a student is ‘MONEY’. As of now, I am not earning so I can’t spend much on my supplies.”
Finally we get talking about his winning cosplay character, Night Fury aka Toothless from the hit movie franchise How to Train your Dragon. Firstly we asked why he decided to cosplay such an intense character, to which he answered, “I love animated characters and Night Fury is my personal favourite. The character is adorable in itself, I don’t need a reason to not love him.”
He further went on to explain how he created this magnificent beast, “There have been sleepless nights while creating Night Fury and though it was difficult, it was fun. For the creation of it, I started with the structure and used PVC Pipes for it, rexin leather for the body and got it stitched with the help of a friend and finally to give it a volume, bedsheet foam was used.”
Life of a cosplayer is filled with a number of varied moments; right from funny, heart touching ones to some hilarious ones. To know which moment has been his favourite till date, he joyfully recollects, “For the first time in two years, I did a group cosplay. All of us made our costumes together and trust me, cosplaying with friends is a pleasant experience. I don’t know where they would be in future, or if we’ll ever cosplay together but cosplaying with such amazing people is something I will cherish forever.”
Mandar believes that ‘Each and every Person out there is an Artist’ and so all the cosplayers are his inspiration. But the biggest inspiration for him are Vijay Senpai (Vijay Sinha Cosplay) and Surya Senpai (Scythe’s Skunk Works ). For him they are the most valuable players in the Indian Cosplay world.
He’s of the opinion that Cosplay is not merely costuming, but is a very unique form of performance art and it would be great if people put in more efforts on making their costumes. Anyone can purchase a costume but the real fun and award will be in making the costume from scratch. The hard work and perseverance that goes into the making pays off at the end and nothing can beat that joy.
Though this talented guy doesn’t have a cosplay name, he says, “My friends and people around me know me as “Mondur”. I know it sounds funny but there are high chances that it can be my cosplay name in future 😉 ”
Lastly for the aspiring cosplayers, Mandar signs off with a beautiful quote by Shia LaBeouf – ‘Don’t stop whatever you’re doing right now. People will either love it, hate it, live it, breathe it, or will merely accept it. Who cares? JUST DO IT!’