People wanting to see Anna Hazare now won't have to go to the remote Ralegan-Siddhi village or wait for his next agitation. A visit to the Celebrity Wax Musuem here will ensure a 'meeting' with the anti-graft crusader, minus the long queues and the security clearances.
A wax statue of Hazare was Saturday evening unveiled in Varsoli village on the outskirts of this hill-station, around 175 km from Mumbai, vowing the weekend visitors.
It was shown to Hazare Saturday at his native village in the adjacent Ahmednagar district.
"Hazare appeared very pleased at seeing his wax duplicate and even touched it a couple of times out of curiosity," an aide told IANS.
Hazare has donated his trademark Gandhi cap worn during his hunger strike for the Jan Lokpal bill in the capital, and also his clothes for the statue.
Celebrity Wax Museum Director Sujith Sukumaran, an acclaimed artist, said Hazare's cap has a great heritage value and would be a treasured possession for the museum.
The statue was unveiled Saturday to coincide with the death anniversary of Hazare's mother, he said.
"Hazare is a hero of this generation. He moved the masses against corruption... That is why we decided to immortalise him in wax," an excited Sukumaran told IANS.
Initially, museum authorities were hesitant about the proposal, fearing Hazare may not permit his wax statue.
"He not only gave us permission, but took time off from his schedule to patiently give us measurements," Sukumaran said.
The statue has been crafted by India's top wax sculptor Sunil Kandalloor. It took him 25 days to complete the task.
The air-conditioned museum has statues of 32 prominent personalities including Mahatma Gandhi, India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, English comic actor Charlie Chaplin, late musician Michael Jackson, and several other living and dead legends.
Next week, a statue of former cricketer Kapil Dev will be inaugurated, followed by similar statues of actors Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Abhishek Bachchan.