Jeet Molankar is one name that is known to every Cosplayer and Cosplay fan today. If you belong to, or are related to Cosplay community, you already know why? After winning the grand prize at Maruti Suzuki Mumbai Comic Con 2017 Cosplay competition, he reserved his place as a finalist for Indian Championship of Cosplay 2018. The contenders were strong, and yet Jeet’s Reinhardt cosplay from Overwatch emerged victorious against all odds. He had a huge smile on his face and felt rewarded for his efforts and hard work.
Otaku In Town team recently had a chance to connect with Jeet (who is a Social Media expert by profession) and discuss about his Journey towards ICC 2018 success. When asked about how he feels after being crowned as the best cosplayer in the country? He gave a shocking, but a very genuine response. He said “It’s like getting appreciated for your efforts. However, I don’t consider myself as the best cosplayer. Every cosplayer has their own strength and expertise. I have used mine in the best way possible to get the title.” He agreed that the competition was tough this year and a lot of participants had great cosplays, “But I just had faith in myself and my work which led me move ahead” he further added.
Jeet have been into art since childhood. It all started with interest in artistic fields like drawing, painting, clay moulding and dismantling toys. When he was exposed to Cosplay culture, he could instantly relate to the field. Like most of the artists, Jeet doesn’t cosplay just for the sake of competition or just because the character looks good. When asked how he selects the character he said “I take my time before I start with any cosplay. First I should like the character myself, if I can relate to it then good. The character itself should intrigue me in doing that cosplay rather than how it looks. After I finalise my cosplay character, I usually take about a month just to design and source materials for the costume. And then I move to the building process.”
Jeet's ICC winner Reinhardt cosplay was no exception to this process. “I loved Reinhardt’s back story in the game. His attitude towards life. The never give up belief is what I could relate to. And I am a Reinhardt main BTW. Even I don’t give up on something I want to achieve. And of-course his bad-ass armor. I chose Reinhardt specifically because of the tough design elements it had, one of which were the lions of course.” he said while talking about how he selected Reinhardt character for cosplay.
Jeet said that every character he cosplayed, has inspired him as a whole. But, the journey of success is never without obstacles. He believes that his Ghost Rider’s hell cycle (Motorcycle) was one of the most difficult prop to work on. It had to be made without the use of any kind of metal or metal parts. He said “That was the biggest challenge I faced in order to create a life size 11 feet chopper made out of PVC pipes and wood”. But all the efforts pays off when his cosplay catches attention of the people and as they get to see something different, something beyond normal, which makes them feel nice. And this is what makes Jeet feel happy, to see a smile on every face he come across, and it motivates him to do such cosplays even more. There is a list of cosplays which he wants to do in near future and it includes iconic characters like Iron Man, Batman, Doctor Doom etc.
Jeet believes that Indian cosplayers are already on par with the International Cosplayers. He said “The quality of cosplays in our country have already reached sky high. I have been to an International Comic Convention and I have to say we are in level with them.”
Along with the ICC 2018 title, Jeet has won the ticket to Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2018 which will be held in the month of April. He will be cosplaying as Reinhardt once again for the event, as he believes it has huge potential and is worthy enough to represent our country at C2E2. When asked about his plans for the year 2018 he said “My plans are not that big this time. I will definitely focus on doing something different and something challenging.”
Jeet’s advice to aspiring cosplayers and the first timers is “Research a lot and study your character. And the most important thing - Just have fun while you are cosplaying”.