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'Ash in hot pink' dazzles NY

Dressed in a hot pink salwar-kurta, Aishwarya Rai's wax model is on display at Madame Tussauds in New York.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2007 13:47 IST

No, she is not wearing a bridal red sari like her wax likeness at London's Madame Tussauds. Instead, the museum in New York has Indian film star Aishwarya Rai in a hot pink salwar-kurta with zardozi borders and an armful of bangles, on tiptoe and striking a Bollywood dance pose.

Madame Tussauds at the bustling Times Square unveiled Rai's strikingly lifelike wax model on Aug 15, amid Bollywood dancers performing to popular Hindi film songs. It was the museum's Independence Day gift to lovers of India and its popular cinema.

Rai's model will stand in a special alcove in the 'Opening Night' section, sharing the spotlight with models of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez.

The only other Indian at the museum spread over many levels and rooms is Mahatma Gandhi in his familiar garb of loincloth, holding a cane. He stands in a chamber for political and other world figures.

Rai's model has been borrowed for six weeks from the parent museum in London, where it was unveiled in 2004.

Janine DiGioacchino, general manager of Madame Tussauds in New York, said: "Aishwarya is a celebrity icon in India and beyond. We have received a tremendous number of calls from her fans in the US who are excited to visit her figure here."

Though Rai was not present at the New York unveiling, she may drop by later. She is scheduled to be in the city Aug 18 when she makes an appearance at 'Bachchan Sandhya' at Lincoln Centre, where her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan will read from his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan's poetry. Husband Abhishek Bachchan and mother-in-law Jaya Bachchan will also be present at the event.

Rai's big ticket Hollywood film "The Last Legion", with Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley, is releasing in the US on Aug 17.

Madame Tussauds has become known for creating strikingly lifelike wax statues of the world's most popular personalities. Frenchwoman Marie Tussauds in London set it up in 1835. It also has branches in Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Shanghai, with Washington being added to the list in October this year.