‘Gaurilla’, the ‘Freiza’ of Indian Cosplay

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The recent Delhi Comic Con witnessed more than 500 cosplayers attending, wherein many took part in the cosplay competition as well. Many of them cosplayed not for the competition but for the fun and love of it. Not only were there an increase in numbers but cosplay was also being taken seriously as we could spot few cosplayers replicating their favourite characters in almost the exact same manner, be it looks or even roleplay. Visitors were inquisitive to know about this fictional world and wanting to click pictures with them, keeping in mind that ‘Cosplay is not Consent’.

Cosplay is not consent basically means that if a person is cosplaying that doesn’t mean you have the right to click pictures them without taking their permission or sexually harass them.

With this we come to know the growing popularity of cosplay in India. Following up on our cosplay profiles, after featuring the Kung Fury of Indian Cosplay, Vijay Sinha, this week we try to get insights from the Mumbai based ‘vertically challenged’ (the way she likes to describe herself), Gaurilla aka Gauri Karnik.

Gauri who has been in the cosplay scenario for the past four years, got her first brush with cosplay at Cool Japan Festival 2012. Describing her first time experience at the Cool Japan Festival, she says, “I met SuperheroBlues and Syrinx Cosplay for the very first time. There were just a few of the people cosplaying at that time and the whole thing seemed impossibly cool and I wanted to do it too!”

Maya Fey, Photo Credits: AnticNinja

We couldn’t stop ourselves from asking Gauri, the hidden secret behind her cosplay name ‘Gaurilla’, to which she admits, “’Gaurilla’ is a very silly pun on my real name, Gauri.”

Being a student and cosplaying at the same time, one needs support from their family as it’s difficult for people to understand the kind of passion, hard work and dedication that goes into coming up with a costume. Gauri’s family have been a constant pillar of support for her as she adds, “I have been fortunate enough to have immense support from my family and friends when it comes to cosplay. Most of the reactions I get when explaining the concept of cosplay is amazement, especially when I show them pictures. They just can’t believe that it is the same person!”

Besides being a devoted cosplayer, Gauri, a BSc Economics student who is in her third year, manages to strike a balance between her studies and love for cosplay. But, she also accepts the fact that she’s quite the procrastinator which many a times becomes a major hurdle. Talking more about the challenges she faces, Gauri honestly accepts, “The biggest challenge I have faced while cosplaying is mostly in the process of making the costume. Since I am a terrible procrastinator, I end up completing my costumes at the very last moment. But recently I have begun planning my work well in advance to avoid the deadline-induced panic.”

From left: Red, Rock Lee, Photo Credits: Julius Gomes and AnticNinja

Since Gauri is based in Mumbai she has been actively taking part in Mumbai events and goes for private photoshoots as well. Recently, she went to cosplay at an event in Bangalore and hopes to get more such opportunities where she can not only cosplay across India but also across the globe as well.

One of the important or one can say the basic thing one needs to get right while cosplaying is catching the essence of the character, how he/she feels and their attire. Coming up with an attire and also to get it right can be a herculean task, so how does Gauri go about making her costumes? “I am mostly a do-it-yourself person and I enjoy making most of the elements of my costume right from the clothes to the props. However, if I do find making a particular prop a little bit challenging, I ask my friends over at Scythe’s Skunkworks to make it for me,” she mentions.

Talking about her favourite character and her inspiration, Gauri beamingly says, “My favourite character that I have cosplayed till date is Freiza because I truly love the character and have invested a lot of time and effort in the making of that costume.”

Gauri Karnik
Shuurei Hong, Photo Credits: Prady Das Cosplay

“When it comes to cosplay, my biggest inspiration are my friends who I can harass for advice and critiques. I wouldn’t have reached as far as I have now without any of them,” she cheekily adds.

She goes about saying what she would like to see a change in the Indian cosplay scenario, “Cosplayers in India seem to be satisfied if they can just get the costume right. Cosplay is so much more than dressing up as your character. I would definitely like to see some more effort being put into the ‘roleplay’ part of cosplay.”

As for the newbies in this field, Gauri’s suggestion is to look for parts of costumes in the local street-shopping destinations rather than just buying them out off stores. Many tailors will be willing to try and make costumes for you but there’s a catch. Be prepared to explain what you want from them with utmost intricate details. Most of the materials for the props can be found in hardware stores. If you are ordering anything online, order well in advance and leave a buffer time for any unexpected shipping delays.

At the same time, there are other cosplayers who also accept commissions for costumes/props. Wigs can also be rented and if you need any advice, cosplayers are more than willing to help.

Last but not the least, Gauri shouts out to the aspiring cosplayers, “Stop worrying about what other people think and just go for it!”

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