Clad in crisp blue bandh gala and black trousers, the ‘Shahenshah’ of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan stood in front of a hall full of people applauding and cheering at Delhi’s Shangri-La Hotel. This lifelike wax statue of the BigB was the first to be unveiled in the curtain raiser of the world renowned Madame Tussauds that opens in Delhi in July this year.
“We are in the final phase of launching Madame Tussauds in Delhi. The wax attraction will provide an immersive and exhilarating experience of the glittering world of renowned celebrities and personalities to the Indian audiences,” said Anshul Jain, general manager and director, Merlin Entertainments that runs Madame Tussauds.
This will be the first of the Madame Tussauds museums to be launched in the country. It will be located on the first and second floors of the Regal Cinema building in Connaught Place.
“We got reviews from a lot of people who said that they were expecting the first of our museums to come up in Mumbai because that is the entertainment capital of the country. But we wanted to debut in Delhi and when we found out about the heritage Regal building, we knew this is where we wanted to be,” said Marcel Kloos, director, New Opening Europe and Emerging Markets.
Kloos said that it was a thrilling experience to bring the legend of Madame Tussauds to the culturally rich land of India.
The first museum will have 50 figures. At a time, the museum has the capacity to hold 500 visitors. Though the organisers did not announce the entry costs, they said that the prices will be nominal to cater to all sections.
“We are yet to get a Goods and Services Tax (GST) clearance from the government. After that is finalised, we will be able to decide on the entry charges, but it will be affordable with special discounts for certain sections such as students,” Jain said.
This will be the 23rd Madame Tussauds museum in the world, and just like its counterparts across the globe, it will allow visitors to touch and click pictures with the celebrity statues. The figurines will be made in London with a specialised team in charge of maintaining the statues in Delhi.
“The lifelike features of the statues have been the USP of Madame Tussauds. Since we are allowing people to touch the statues, wear and tear is unavoidable. Our team will ensure that they are as good as new each day,” the organisers said.
The Indian version, however, will have a local connect. “We will have 60% figures of Indian celebrities, sportspersons and politicians and the rest 40% will be of international celebs,” Jain said.
As a preview along with Bachchan, statues of American pop singer Lady Gaga and Marie Tussaud, who started the legacy, were also showcased. At present, the 200-year-old attraction has museums in cities across America, Europe, Australia and Asia.